The United Kingdom is a parliamentary democracy comprised of four countries. Historically, the four nations were divided into counties as areas for local government administration. Although these are still used to some extent for this purpose and as geographical areas, they are no longer the sole basis for local government administration
The shield shows the various royal emblems of the United Kingdom. The three lions of England in the first and fourth quarters, the lion of Scotland in the second and the harp of Ireland in the third. The garter symbolizes the Order of the Garter, an ancient order of knighthood of which the Queen is Sovereign. The shield is supported by the English lion and Scottish unicorn and is surmounted by the Royal crown. Below appears the motto of the Sovereign, Dieu et mon droit ('God and my right').