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In jurisdictions such as the Republic of Ireland the authority to grant armorial bearings has been delegated to a chief herald that serves the same purpose as the traditional king of arms.Canada also has a chief herald, though this officer grants arms on the authority of the Governor General as the Queen's representative through the Herald Chancellor's direct remit.This science of heraldry became increasingly important and further regulated over the years, and in several countries around the world it is still overseen by heralds.

Officers of arms whose appointments are of a permanent nature are known as officers of arms in ordinary; those whose appointments are of a temporary or occasional nature are known as officers of arms extraordinary.

In many heraldic traditions, only a king of arms has the authority to grant armorial bearings.

In England, the authority to grant a coat of arms is subject to the formal approval of the Earl Marshal in the form of a warrant.

Today, there still exist some private pursuivants that are not employed by a government authority.

In Scotland, for example, several pursuivants of arms have been appointed by Clan Chiefs.

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