WHEN he arrived in Scotland promising to invest millions and create the greatest golf course in the world, Donald Trump might have expected a warm welcome. He was wrong.
Firstly his application fell foul of environmental campaigners, belligerent locals and the planning system. Now it has emerged that the American tycoon has been carpeted for violating ancient laws relating to heraldry.
Trump has been adorning promotional material for his proposed resort at Menie Estate, Aberdeenshire, with a coat of arms which bears his name.
But the design has not been registered with the Court of the Lord Lyon – as required by a 1672 law – and now the Trump Organisation has been ordered to remove it and withdraw any products that bear the insignia.
The decision, delivered to the company in a letter from the court's procurator-fiscal, George Way, means goods already produced, such as jackets and baseball caps, are now outlawed.
But last night, Trump's right-hand man, George Sorial, insisted he had "great respect" for the history of the coat of arms and would work through the legal process – even though he expected it to take up to a year.
Mr Sorial said: "This is something we were made aware of several weeks ago by the court of the Lord Lyon. He informed us what the process was and we are now working to create and register a coat of arms.
"This is something we have great respect for – the history of the coat of arms – and we are willing to go through this."
He also rejected the suggestion that the billionaire might feel persecuted by the Scottish authorities, with the heraldry decision coming on the back of Aberdeenshire Council knocking back his resort proposals. The plans were controversially called in by the Scottish Government and now a Holyrood committee is examining the legitimacy of the process.
"I haven't viewed the process we've gone through as a problem at all," said Mr Sorial. "This is a very complicated application. There are a lot of issues that need to be dealt with properly and, as we have said over and over again, we are willing to go through it."
Last night, Romilly Squire, chairman of the Scottish Heraldic Society, said the coat of arms, in silver and gold, broke a number of heraldic conventions. He said it looked like it had been put together purely for aesthetics, rather than reflecting anything about the bearer.
Mr Sorial said the insignia was something Trump had had "for quite some time" and it had been properly registered with the US patent and trademark office. He added: "I believe it's the Trump family crest. I don't know if it has anything to do with his mother's clan. I don't think so.
"It is my understanding we can't use it and we have removed it from our website, our envelopes, our letterheads."
He said the financial burden would be "insignificant".
Mr Way said the court was awaiting a detailed response from the Trump Organisation.
EXPERTS CLAIM RULE-BREAKING DESIGN 'IS THE WORK OF AN AMATEUR'
ACCORDING to leading heraldry experts, Donald Trump's coat of arms violates some of the most important conventions in the discipline.
Romilly Squire, of the Scottish Heraldic Society, said the colour scheme was one of the biggest problems.
The gold and silver breaks a key convention of heraldry – that there should not be any metal on metal. The rule comes from when coats of arms were worn by warriors and is to make them distinctive from a distance.
Mr Squire said the use of the name Trump was wrong as a motto should be there instead.
If the coat of arms were Scottish, the motto should sit above the spear.
Meanwhile, Richard Baker, of heraldry organisation Achievements, said the inclusion of the Trump name was "totally wrong" as the coat of arms itself should denote the name.
Historically, the designs were used as seals on letters, which meant the peasants who were unable to read could see who they were from.
The crest also draws on some very basic traditional symbols of heraldry – lions and chevrons. However, both experts suggested the piece was designed by an amateur who thought it was what a coat of arms should look like.