In 1596, Shakespeare secured a coat of arms for his father, thus earning himself the title "gentleman." But the herald who granted the coat faced attacks from his own colleagues for elevating a mere playwright to gentle status. How did Shakespeare, early modern heraldry officials, and their contemporaries view the relationship between heraldry and gentility? And have heraldry's meanings changed over the past few centuries?

In this talk, scholar Kathryn Will explores the fascinating and volatile history of England's royal College of Arms, shedding light on quests for arms from the Bard through Kate Middleton.

Read more about Kathryn's work at her website

Reserve your seats here.