Decoding the Fleur De Lis Flower Symbol

Fleur de Lis flower
The Fleur de Lis flower, or flower of the lily, symbolizes different things across countries and religions. It often symbolizes purity and royalty.

What is the Fleur De Lis?

The Fleur-de-Lis, often spelled Fleur-de-lys, is French for flower of the lily. The symbol depicts a lotus flower or lily, but experts believe its origin can relate to the wild iris. It often symbolizes purity, honor, and majesty.  

The Fleur-de-Lis a stylized lily flower having French origins and centuries of historical use. The flower has a common appearance in both historical symbols and modern designs.

You can find these symbols everywhere: religious symbols, decorations, coats of arms, heraldry, and even French monarchy. 

Basic Image

You can recognize the symbol from the unique design that consists of three petals and a base. There are plain and ornate depictions of the Fleur-de-Lis symbol.  

Fleur de Lis flower
This is an example of the fleur-de-lis flower symbol carved into a door.

Fleur De Lis Flower Symbolize In Christianity?

One legend surrounding the Fleur-de-Lis describes the religious significance of the flower.

The lily was given to the king of the Franks, King Clovis (466-511 CE), on his baptism by Virgin Mary. It’s believed that the lily sprung from tears shed by Eve when she left Eden. 

Due to this, the Fleur-de-Lis has been a symbol of purity. The Roman Catholic Church also accepts the sanctity of this symbolism and the association of Mary with these events of significance. 

Other Symbols in Christianity

There are 11th-century coins, statues, noble seals, and stained-glass windows with Mary holding the lily flower. 

The Trinity

Besides that, the Fleur-de-Lis also represents the Holy Trinity or Christ. The three petals of the lily flower denote the three parts of the Christian Doctrine – God the Son, God the Father, and God the Holy Spirit. The petals may even depict wisdom, faith, and chivalry virtues.


When Pope Leo III crowned emperor Charlemagne in 800, he presented the new king with a blue banner with golden Fleurs-de-Lis.  

Does Fleur De Lis Have Relevance In France?

The Fleur-de-Lis has also been a famous symbol in the monarchy, especially French royalty. For a long time, French kings used the Fleur-de-Lis as an emblem that their sovereignty was indisputable. 

In the 12th century, King Louis VI, or King Louis VII, became the first king of France to use the symbol on his shield. The kings also used Fleur-de-Lis on the coats of arms to further emphasize their claim to the French throne. 

During the 14th century, the Fleur de Lis became a part of the family insignia sewn onto the knight’s surcoat and worn over the coat of mail.  

Joan of Arc also carried a white banner that showed God blessing the Fleur-de-Lis. At this time, it was the French royal emblem. Joan of Arc proceeded to lead the troops against the English to support Charles VII and helped him win the French throne. 

The Fleur-de-Lis has since then been a part of the French coat of arms, an older version of the French flag, and the French monarch’s shield. Even though the flag is no longer in use, it’s still a part of the coat of arms. 

The Fleur De Lis in Boy Scouts

Many scouting organizations, like the Boy Scouts, use the Fleur-de-Lis as their symbol. The Boy Scouts of America have their emblem of a red or gold Fleur-de-Lis flower, along with an eagle flying in front of it. 

This use of the flower symbol stems from the origin of scouting when in the first scouting camp, the scouts received the Fleur-de-Lis badge. 

The leader of the Boy Scouts, Lord Baden-Powell, took inspiration from the north point of the compass as it symbolized that just like a compass, the scouts lead the way and are reliable. 

Moreover, the flower’s three petals also depict the aspects of the Boy Scout Promise: duty to God, responsibility for self, and service to others. 

Fleur de lis flower
This is a real fleur-de-lis flower.

How Can You Use Fleur De Lis?

Besides the popular symbolism associated with the Fleur de Lis, numerous other uses of the stylized flower exist. 

Importance in Several Nations

It appears on the Franco-American flag, used initially in the year 1992. The flag is red, white, and blue to denote France and America. 

Spain’s flag also contains the country’s coat of arms, which has three Fleur-de-Lis symbols in the heart. They represent the historical kingdoms that came together to form the Kingdom of Spain. It includes a European royal house of France called the house of bourbon and a royal house called Anjou. 

Many other European countries, like Germany, Italy, Florence, and England, also have the symbol of Fleur-de-Lis on their coat of arms. 

In Popular Culture

The symbol also appeared in prestigious literature pieces like the Da Vinci Code, The Three Musketeers, and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.  

The lily flower, a part of the Fleur-de-Lis, represents purity and honor. The Fleur-de-Lis is also the right gift for many important occasions, from being a May birth flower to being the symbol of the 30th wedding anniversary. 

If you’ve enjoyed this article, check out our post on the Hestia symbol.


Vanessa's liberal arts background has prepared her well for Symbol Scholar. A self-proclaimed theology nerd, Vanessa has interests in world religions, Reformation theology, history, and more. When she's not working, Vanessa enjoys spending time with her family, reading, exercising, and watching professional basketball.

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