The crown is topped by a turret, with a male figure throwing a dagger (Guzmán el Bueno, ancestor of the first duke) in chief. The top part of the coat of arms reads Præferre Patriam Liberis Parentem Decet (Latin: "It is seemly for a parent to put his fatherland before his children"), also a nod to the Guzmán el Bueno's role during the 1296 defence of Tarifa on behalf of Sancho IV of Castile. The supporters are the Pillars of Hercules and read Non Plus Ultra (Latin: "Nothing further beyond").
It is the central device of the flag of Melilla.
In January 1913, the Captain-General of Melilla Francisco Gómez Jordana requested the House of Medina Sidonia the permission to negotiate with the Government the use of the Ducal arms as coat of arms of the city. The coat of arms was granted through a Royal Decree issued in March 1913 by Alfonso XIII.
- "La Comandancia General de Melilla difunde la historia de su guión". Melilla Hoy. 6 July 2017.
- Segura, Wenceslao (2019). "Iconografía de Guzmán el Bueno y de la Gesta de Tarifa". Al Qantir: 46.
- Migallón Aguilar, Isabel M.ª (13 March 2018). "Un escudo con abolengo". Melilla Hoy.