Sweden’s chief heraldists remain dissatisfied with a decision by the Nordic Battlegroup to remove a lion’s penis depicted on its coat of arms.
But staff at the National Archives are hopeful that the Nordic Battlegroup will reconsider its position and re-erect the lion’s member on its insignia.
“They stepped over the line when they made alterations to the badge without consulting us. It was a clear breach of copyright,” state heraldist Henrik Klackenberg.
Although the heraldry unit is unlikely to take any legal action, Klackenberg said he would appreciate an apology from the Armed Forces.
After an initial flurry of media reports in December last year, the Commander of the Nordic Battlegroup, Karl Engelbrektsson, revealed that it was he who he had ordered the alteration. This ran contrary to initial reports suggesting that the emasculation occurred following pressure from female soldiers.
In an interview with Sveriges Radio, the Commander said he decided to give the lion the snip having read UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
But heraldic artist Vladimir A Sagerlund was dismayed at what he viewed as an alarming lack of historical awareness. In former times, he said, coats of arms containing lions without genitalia were given to those who betrayed the Swedish Crown.
“We could make the dimensions a bit smaller, for example. Once we were commissioned to create a similar symbol for Swedish Customs. When they thought it was a bit much they sent it back to us and we just shrank the organ,” said Klackenberg.