Three Lions on the Shirt: From Henry II to Skinner and Baddiel (summary as follows):
Every couple of years, at the dawn of every international tournament, a curious ritual begins to take place in England, heralding the imminent arrival of the World Cup or European Championships. Frank Skinner and David Baddiel’s 1996 anthem “Three Lions,” produced in tandem with Liverpudlian rock band the Lightning Seeds, seems to become the de facto national anthem, blasting through car windows, home stereos and even nightclub soundsystems.
The title of the song refers, of course, to the England football team’s badge, adorned with three lions. Instantly recognisable, the England badge is memorable, boasts incredible longevity and invokes a sense of national pride for many, making it a great example of strong design and brand choices.
But what are the badge’s origins? How did we come to be represented by three lions? And how has the design endured as a symbol of English identity? Branding expert Solopress takes a look at the history behind our most famous footballing symbol.
- England’s Royal Family was first represented by three lions as early as 1198, when Richard I chose three lions to adorn his heraldry
- When the Football Association (FA) was formed during the 19th century, they adopted the three lions as their logo.
- For the first official international game between England and Scotland in 1872, the England players wore white shirts with three lions beneath a crown.
- The 1996 anthem ‘Three Lions’ by Frank Skinner, David Baddiel and the Lightning Seeds further drove home the association between English football and the three lions iconography.