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Meghan Markle’s coat of arms released: what does the emblem mean?

Less than a week after becoming the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle has received an official coat of arms approved by Queen Elizabeth II.

>> Read more trending news

According to Kensington Palace, the Duchess of Sussex is represented in the emblem by a songbird, with its wings elevated as if it is flying. The bird also has an open beak, with three quills that represent communication and the power of words.

The blue background represents the Pacific Ocean off the coast of California and two golden rays across the shield also represent the Sunshine State, Kensington Palace said

Beneath the shield on the grass is a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower. It also includes wintersweet, which grows on the grounds of Kensington Palace.

In the emblem, the arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband, a representation of their union side by side in the same shield. 

Markle also picked those flowers to be featured in her wedding veil.

>>Read: Meghan Markle selects Givenchy dress for royal wedding

The coat of arms was designed by the College of Arms in London.

Thomas Woodcock, the Garter of Arms who helped craft the design, said Markle was active in the design process. 

“The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms,” said Woodcock in the statement from Kensington Palace. “Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London.”

Markle also represented her California roots in her royal wedding invitations, which were printed with American ink.

Now that Meghan has received her coat of arms, she and Harry can get their own “conjugal coat of arms,” which will likely be officially unveiled in a couple years, PEOPLE reports.

William and Kate’s conjugal coat of arms debuted in September 2013, just over two years after their wedding in April 2011.

Luke Bryan announces 2018 Farm Tour; stops include Ohio, Florida, Georgia

Luke Bryan announced the official dates for the 10th annual Farm Tour 2018, with six stops in cities from Ohio to Florida.

This year, the “Sunrise Sunburn Sunset” country superstar will kick off the tour September 27 in Irwin, Ohio. 

“I can’t believe we’ve been doing this 10 years!” Bryan said in a statement on his website. “Our goal was to bring big-city production concerts into these small towns across the U.S. giving those communities the opportunity to attend shows that would never come their way.”

Tickets for the “Bayer Presents Luke Bryan Farm Tour 2018” go on sale June 6. Presale ticket sales begin June 1, according to his website

Proceeds from the Farm Tour go toward college scholarships for students from local farming families who are attending local colleges or universities near their own town.

Over 100,000 people have attended the Farm Tour since it kicked off in 2009. Over 50 scholarships have been given out to date, according to Bryan’s announcement

Bryan, a Georgia native, told Billboard that the Farm Tour is a very personal experience for him. 

“My whole existence, and the reason that I’m in country music, was based on me being in an agricultural family,” Bryan told Billboard. “It taught me everything I know about life, and my work ethic. It has shaped who I am. I took all those values, and I brought them to Nashville, and used that hard work to get my career off the ground. I still go back home and talk to my dad, and talk about how the business is going. It’s still very present, and very important in my life.”

Luke Bryan 2018 Farm Tour dates:

  • Sept. 27: Irwin, Ohio – Springfork Farms
  • Sept. 28: Pesotum, Illinois – Atkins Farm
  • Sept. 29: Boone, Iowa – Ziel Farm
  • Oct. 4: Archer, Florida – Whitehurst Cattle Company
  • Oct. 5: North Augusta, South Carolina – Misty Morning Farms
  • Oct. 6: Ringgold, Georgia – Doug Yates Farms

Mother cat looks ‘surprised’ when doc says she’s expecting

Any female expecting a new arrival has probably had a similar look, no matter the mother’s species. 

A stray cat named Ulla was getting a little heavier after she arrived at Greenland’s Dyrenes Venner animal shelter. So shelter workers took her to a veterinarian for an ultrasound, the “Today” show reported

The worker’s gut feeling was right. Ulla’s expecting four or five kittens. 

>> Read more trending news 

Workers posted photos of Ulla getting the good news last week to social media where they have gone viral.

Not only has Ulla’s good news been shared all over the world, she also has a new family who will care for her until she has her babies and who will then will take care of her offspring until they are old enough to find their forever homes. Mom will stay with her newfound family, People magazine reported

For more on the Dyrenes Venner animal shelter, visit its Facebook or Instagram pages. 

Volunteers brave the heat to give veterans' graves some TLC ahead of Memorial Day

The final resting place for our nation’s heroes in Jacksonville is now a sea of American flags.

But in order to accomplish that goal, every year, the Jacksonville National Cemetery, like other cemeteries across the country, needs help.

Edna Trambley and her sisters went to visit their mom’s grave Thursday not knowing it was the same day volunteers would come out to place flags at each grave.

>> Read more trending news 

It was a welcome surprise.

“Makes me glad I’m an American, makes me so happy,” said Trambley.

Trambley got emotional while at her mom’s grave at the Jacksonville National Cemetery.

Visiting her ahead of Memorial Day has become a tradition for her and her sisters Fran Evans, Ruby Rodgers, and Linda Waite who each traveled from out of town to be there.

“We’re very proud,” said Evans.

“Absolutely she was too she didn’t waste a moment to tell you that she was in the military,” said Trambley.

Their mom, Veronica Anthony, proudly served during World War II.

Her grave site and nearly 15,000 others got some TLC.

Two-hundred volunteers came out to place flags at each grave site Thursday.

Some got to put flags at their own loved one’s graves but no matter the reason that brought them out, one thing is clear -- each and every one buried there matters.

“It was worth coming out here to witness this,” said Trambley.

From children to the elderly to those currently serving and those who served, all of them braved the heat to lend a hand.

The volunteers showed everyone the real meaning of Memorial Day.

For Trambley and her sisters, the kind gesture means the world.

“Even after we’re gone years and years in the future our mother will be honored,” said Trambley. 

Shaquille O’Neal pays for funeral of woman killed outside high school graduation, sheriff says

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office said former NBA player Shaquille O’Neal has stepped up to pay for the funeral of a woman who was shot and killed outside a high school graduation last week. 

Investigators said a fight broke out May 18 in a parking lot of Mt. Zion High School as a graduation ceremony ended at the Clayton County Performing Arts Center across the street in Jonesboro, Georgia.

The parking lot where the shooting happened was an overflow lot for the graduation ceremony. 

>> Read more trending news 

The argument led to two women being shot, one of them fatally. 

Clayton County Sheriff Victor Hill said that not long after hearing about the shooting, O’Neal reached out to him to see if the victim’s family needed help. 

“The length of his heart far exceeds his height,” Hill said in a Thursday news release. “We never ask him for anything, but when he sees a need, he is Johnny on the spot!”

Investigators said a third woman, who was pregnant, was thrown to the ground during the incident, but she was expected to be OK. 

Two people were arrested the next day for the shooting incident.

O’Neal has a special connection with the Clayton County Sheriff's Office. In December 2016, he was named an honorary deputy by Hill. Hill said the two of them have been friends ever since. 

Once homeless and bullied, teen gets full ride to Harvard

An 18-year-old who was once bullied for his smarts is going to Harvard University on a full scholarship.

The Associated Press reported that Richard Jenkins is the valedictorian at Girard College, a Philadelphia boarding school. The teen was in Paris for a school trip when he found out about the scholarship, which pays tuition.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

According to WHYY, Jenkins endured a number of challenges before getting accepted into the Ivy League school. ABC News reported that he and his family were homeless from fourth grade to sixth grade and Jenkins was suffering from migraines from the stress. He was also bullied in school for participating in class.

>> Read more trending news 

“In the sixth grade, one time I was walking from school with my friend, and he was asking me where I lived because his house was right around the corner from where we were. The shelter looked like a big house — it could have been a mansion. So I told him, ‘Yeah, that’s my house right there,’ because I was so embarrassed to say I lived in a shelter.”

Although he had severe migraines that left him hospitalized for weeks at a time, he maintained an “A” average. Around the same time, his father had a heart attack.

“My migraines started in the eighth grade because of all of the stress I was dealing with at the time. There was a lot of pressure to get into high school and succeed,” Jenkins told WHYY. “And then my dad had a heart attack. In the summer of the eighth grade, it got really bad. I got hospitalized; they put me on every medicine they had. But I was eventually able to fight through it and get my work done because, at the end of the day, that was what was the most important to me.”

Jenkins plans to study computer science at Harvard. CNN reported that his godfather, Donald Kinsey Jr., created a GoFundMe to help with expenses outside of the Harvard scholarship. More than $11,000 has been raised of its $25,000 goal.

Prince Harry called ex Chelsy Davy before royal wedding, sources say

Prince Harry reportedly called his ex-girlfriend Chelsy Davy ahead of his royal wedding to Meghan Markle last week.

>> Read more trending news 

According to Vanity Fair, Davy was invited to the royal wedding but learned she wasn’t invited to the evening reception. 

A family friend told Vanity Fair that Harry called Davy out of courtesy and they shared a “tearful phone call.”

“It was their final call, a parting call in which they both acknowledged Harry was moving on,” the source told Vanity Fair. “Chelsy was quite emotional about it all, she was in tears and almost didn’t go to the wedding. In the end, she went and promised Harry she wouldn’t try and gate-crash the party.”

Harry and Davy dated for seven years, from 2004 to 2011, PEOPLE reports

Before their split, it was rumored that Davy was uncomfortable with being in the spotlight.

The pair are reportedly still friendly and have several mutual friends.

Davy, 32, was born in Zimbabwe. Her father, Charles Davy, is a safari farmer and her mother, Beverly Donald Davy, is a former Coca-Cola model and was Miss Rhodesia 1973, according to Elle Magazine

Davy studied economics and earned a law degree in 2009. She launched her own jewelry brand, Aya, in 2016. 

Davy wasn’t the only ex-girlfriend at the wedding.

Harry also invited Cressida Bonas, who he dated from 2012 to 2014.

Vanity Fair reports that Bonas, an English model and actress, was not invited to the exclusive evening reception, either. 

Ducklings fall into sewer, officer climbs in after them

A Pennsylvania police officer climbed down into a storm sewer to save ducklings that had fallen through the grate Wednesday.

RELATED: Turkey chicks rescued from Pittsburgh sewer

Officer Johnston used a net to scoop the ducklings up and reunited them with their mother, the Upper St. Clair Police Department posted on Facebook.

>> Read more trending news 

“Well ... we do just about anything,” the post said. “Please call us for assistance, even if you think it's something the police won't do. We always try our best to serve the public ... and nature.”

Man delivers own baby on side of highway after wife goes into labor

A Lowell, Massachusetts, man had a special delivery to deal with on the highway: his own baby.

>> Watch the news report here

Samuel Beyene's wife Rahel Estifanos called him at work Wednesday morning, saying she was having contractions.

>> Read more trending news 

"We start driving, and all of a sudden, she says, 'Oh my God, something is pushing. Something is coming out,'" Beyene said. "I say, 'OK, we’re almost there. We have 10 minutes to go.' She says, 'No, no, no, Sammy, you don’t know there's something coming out.' And I look down and I see the head."

Before they could make it to the hospital, Beyene pulled over on the side of Route 93.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Wilmington police dispatchers told Beyene on the phone that they were on their way, but their new baby, Lidya, was impatient.

"Slowly but surely, I pull the baby up," Beyene said. "All of a sudden, the baby is in my hand."

The mother and baby are happy and healthy, resting at Winchester Hospital. 

Now that the stress is over, Beyene can joke about the situation.

>> On Boston25News.com: FDA warns some teething medicines are unsafe for babies

"We're gonna give her a little nickname, 93, at the bottom," Beyene said. "Lidya 93, since she was on the highway."

North Carolina man rolled his eyes at wife before buying winning lottery ticket

The winner of Monday’s Lucky for Life lottery in North Carolina may never be able to roll his eyes at his wife ever again.

Darrin Nunnery won Monday’s $390,000 jackpot after his wife asked him to buy her a $2 lottery ticket. 

>> Read more trending news

Nunnery’s wife called to him, “Get me a Lucky For Life ticket,” and he apparently rolled his eyes at her, according to a tweet from the North Carolina Education Lottery.

Lottery for Life winners can choose to take a lump sum or $25,000 a year for life.

Nunnery chose the lump sum of $390,000, according to WRAL. After federal and state withholdings, he took home nearly $275,000.

He told WRAL he plans to spend the money on some home improvement projects, pay bills and donate to his church.

The odds of winning the N.C. Education Lottery are one in 1.8 million, WRAL said. Nunnery is the 16th person to win the prize so far in North Carolina.

WATCH: Adoptive mom's heartwarming video shows older boys including shy son in basketball game

A video and message posted by a Green County, Oklahoma, mom is spreading quickly on social media.

>> Watch the news report here

Christy Rowden posted the video Monday afternoon after a heartwarming moment at a park.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

Rowden said she was at the park with her two children that afternoon when a bus of students from Oologah Upper Elementary pulled up and started playing on the basketball court.

Rowden’s 7-year-old son was adopted from Uganda. Rowden said he can be shy and, as a result, stood back as the older boys played basketball.

>> Watch the video here

Soon after, the fifth-grade boys reportedly came up to her son, Asher, introduced themselves and invited him to play.

The boys quickly welcomed him into their game, cheering him on and giving high-fives.

>> Read more trending news 

Rowden said the moment brought a tear to her eye, especially since she is the mom of a black boy in a mostly white community.

Rowden shared the post to remind people that there is still good in the world and to thank the children who were so kind to her son.

>> See the Facebook post here

4-year-old ‘superhero’ on a mission to save Alabama’s homeless

A 4-year-old boy in Birmingham, Alabama is saving the world one person at a time by handing out food and money to the local homeless community.

He’s pitched in to build a new homeless shelter, donating $5,000, Birmingham mayor Randall Woodfin posted on Facebook:

>> Read more trending news 

Austin Perine wears a red satin superhero cape that helps him work faster because “it blows in the wind,” the boy told CNN. He goes by the superhero name “President Austin” because he wants to become president of the United States.

When he visits with people on the streets, CNN reports, Austin Perine always wears his all-blue “work outfit,” complete with a T-shirt proudly displaying the hashtag #ShowLove in bold red letters.

Terance Perine, Austin’s father, told CBS News that his son was inspired to help the homeless after watching a show on Animal Planet where a panda left her cub alone.

When Austin asked what would happen to the baby panda, his dad told CBS News it appeared it would be “homeless for a while.” Austin asked him if people can be homeless too and wanted to meet a person living on the streets.

Terance Perine said that they went and bought food to hand out to some homeless people and it sparked something special in the boy. According to CNN, Austin Perine now spends his weekly allowance on food to give out to people on the street, to “show love” to the homeless. 

Washington Redskins running back Samaje Perine is Austin’s cousin, according to the Washington Redskins website.

After Austin Perine’s story was featured on CBS News, Burger King stepped in to help, giving him $1,000 a month to spend on chicken sandwiches to hand out.

Church’s Chicken also stepped up to donate to Perine’s “#ShowLove” campaign.

Birmingham’s new homeless shelter is expected to open in late 2018.

Photos: Meghan Markle through the years

Photos of actress Meghan Markle before she married Prince Harry and became Duchess of Sussex.

'I am ugly crying:' 5-year-old with autism says first word in McDonald's drive-thru

A 5-year-old girl in Athens, Alabama, gave her mom the surprise of a lifetime during a trip through a McDonald’s drive-thru.

>> Read more trending news 

Briana Blankenship shared the video of her daughter, Taylor, saying the word “mama” for the first time, according to WXIN.

Blankenship tells WXIN that Taylor has nonverbal autism and has never spoken until now:

“I am ugly crying in the McDonald's parking lot and the employees probably think I'm crazy. In the drive thru I suddenly heard Taylor say MAMA. 

“For those of you that don't know. Taylor is 5 and has nonverbal autism. She has NEVER said a word. EVER. 

“As soon as she said it I grabbed my phone and started recording. I'm pretty sure I held up the drive thru line but there was no way I wasn't getting proof of this. I can't explain how unbelievably grateful and ecstatic I am right now. #AutismAwareness #BigWin.”

The 5-year-old has been in speech therapy since she was 3 years old, WXIN reports. Blankenship said the next word the family hopes to hear is “dada.”

Houston Texans star J.J. Watt visits Santa Fe High School shooting victims 

Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt continues to make an impact in the wake of the mass shooting at a southeastern Texas high school, KTRK reported.

>> Read more trending news

Watt visited some of the victims injured in the deadly shooting at Santa Fe High School on Monday and took photographs with them and their nurses at the hospital. He also visited several victims at their homes, KHOU reported.

A gunman opened fire Friday at the high school in Santa Fe, Texas, killing 10 and wounding 13.

Among the students Watt visited Monday was Chase Yarborough, who he visited at home; and Clay Horn, who remains in the hospital after suffering a gunshot wound.

Horn could undergo more surgery Tuesday, KTRK reported.

>> J.J. Watt offers to pay for funerals of Santa Fe victims

Last week, Watt offered to pay the funeral expenses for the people who were killed.

>> Exchange student, substitute teacher among those killed

Teen takes late boyfriend’s father to senior prom

It was supposed to be the dance of a lifetime, but a Pennsylvania teen’s boyfriend passed away before prom day arrived.

Carter Brown died last month when he was heading home from college to surprise his girlfriend Kaylee Suders.  He was killed when his car crossed the centerline and was hit head-on, The Associated Press reported.

>> Read more trending news 

They had been dating for more than a year, the Centre Daily Times reported.

A month after his death, Suders was planning on skipping the formal dance. That was until Brown’s father, Robert, asked his son’s girlfriend if he could go with her, the AP reported.

“I was kind of surprised before he asked me, and it was really, really heartwarming,” Suders told the Centre Daily Times. “I didn’t have to think about it. I definitely said ‘yes.’ It was so great of him to ask me.”

Brown had to get permission from officials at James Buchanan High School to attend. On the night of the dance, Brown and Suders posed for photos, even adding a photos of Carter to some of the poses. They also went to dinner to T.G.I. Fridays, the site of Suder’s and Carter’s first date, the Centre Daily Times reported.

Avril Lavigne reportedly dating Phillip Sarofim, son of Texas billionaire

Avril Lavigne has reportedly been dating Phillip Sarofim, the son of Texas billionaire Fayez Sarofim, according to E! News.

Lavigne and Sarofim have been dating for two to three months, according to an unnamed source. The rumored new relationship comes after Lavigne, 33, split from Canadian music producer J.R. Rotem.

>> Read more trending news 

ET Canada reported that the news of the reported dating comes after Lavigne and Sarofim were photographed holding hands and getting coffee together last month.

Phillip Sarofim was previously married to Lori Krohn, but it’s not clear when they split. Lori Krohn’s mother, Susan Krohn, married Fayez Sarofim in 2015.

Before dating Rotem, Lavigne was married to Nickelback singer Chad Kroeger from 2013 to 2015 and Sum 41’s Deryck Whibley from 2006 to 2010. She took a break from the public eye when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2013, but told ET Canada last month that she was read to move forward.

Labrador becomes foster dad to orphaned ducklings

A 10-year-old Labrador has made way for ducklings after their mother disappeared and left the baby birds orphaned.

His name is Fred and is the “resident dog” at Mountfitchet Castle in Essex, England, Insider reported.

In something straight out of a children’s book, Fred has taken over for the missing mother and has become a foster dad to the nine chicks.

>> Read more trending news 

He protects them as they huddle under him. Fred also gives the babies a ride around the castle grounds as they line up on his back, Insider reported.

Workers at the castle shared Fred and his feathered family’s story on Facebook.

Staff tells the BBC that Fred has taken the ducks for a swim in the castle’s moat. The ducklings sleep with Fred in his dog basket, the BBC reported.

Jada Pinkett Smith talks hair loss: ‘I was literally shaking in fear’

Jada Pinkett Smith typically comes across as confident and fearless, but she recently opened up about her experience with hair loss as a woman, one that left her covering her hair with turbans.

“A lot of people have been asking why I’ve been wearing turbans,” Pinkett Smith, 46, said on an episode of her Facebook Watch show “Red Table Talk.” “Well, I haven’t talked about it. It’s not easy to talk about, but I am going to talk about it.”

In the Facebook Watch show, Pinkett Smith speaks with her daughter, Willow, and her mother, Adrienne, and they have candid conversation about their life experiences.

>> Read more trending news 

People reported that, in the latest episode, Pinkett Smith said that one day she saw handfuls of hair in her hand.

“It was terrifying when it first started. I was in the shower one day and had just handfuls of hair in my hands and I was just like, ‘Oh my God, am I going bald?’” she said.

“It was one of those times in my life where I was literally shaking in fear. That’s why I cut my hair, and why I continue to cut it.”

Pinkett Smith has recently been photographed with an asymmetrical bob that covers most of her hair line and a scarf around her head with hair poking out on top, or covering her hair altogether with a scarf.

She admitted that the process of dealing with hair loss was a challenge, and although she’s seen multiple specialists, a cause for her hair loss has not been determined.

“My hair has been a big part of me,” Pinkett Smith said. “Taking care of my hair has been a beautiful ritual, and having the choice to have hair or not. And then one day to be, like, ‘Oh my God, I might not have that choice anymore.’”

“I’ve gotten every kind of test there is to have,” she said. “They don’t know why.”

Pinkett Smith said she took a spiritual approach to come to terms with her hair loss.

“I really had to put it into a spiritual perspective, like the higher power takes so much from people. People are out here with cancer. People have sick children. I watch the higher power take things every day,” she said.

“When my hair is wrapped, I feel like a queen,” she said.

“Red Table Talk” airs weekly on Facebook Watch.

Alabama man wants to cut lawns in all 50 states

Cutting lawns during the summer can be a chore, especially when temperatures and humidity rise. But an Alabama man not only enjoys cutting grass, he also wants to mow in all 50 states.

>> Read more trending news

“I’m on a journey called ‘50 States, 50 Lawns,’” Rodney Smith told WHAS. “(I’ll be) mowing a lawn in each state for someone who's elderly, disabled, a single parent mother or veteran.

Smith has done yardwork in four states so far, he told WHAS.

Smith, who lives in Huntsville, Alabama, but is originally from Bermuda, admitted that as a youth he did not like to cut grass. However, a chance encounter with an elderly man changed his perspective.

"It was on a hot, sunny August day and he was struggling, so I pulled up and helped him out and he really appreciated it," Smith told WHAS. "And I realized that this is something that so many people deal with."

It was that encounter that led Smith to create the Raising Men Lawn Care Service, which helps needy people by cutting their lawns for free.

Sunday, Smith was in Louisville to mow the yard of a woman who had recently lost her husband.

"I came to release some stress off her back by mowing her lawn," Smith told WHAS.

Smith’s business goal is to encourage youths to pitch in and help neighbors in need. He has set a goal of 50 lawns for each youth, WHAS reported.

"Once they reach 50, we fly to them and we do lawns with them and we also surprise them with a brand new lawn mower," Smith said.

According to Smith, 12 boys have completed the 50-yard challenge.

There are more than 100 kids involved in the Raising Men Lawn Care Service in the United States and there are also participants in Canada, Bermuda and England, WHAS reported.

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