The Royal Standard is the official flag of Her Majesty The Queen
in her capacity as Sovereign of the United Kingdom and of various other Realms
. Several realms posses their own Royal Standards. The Standard generally consists of the nation's coat of arms
. Outside of the United Kingdom, a blue disc containing the crowned letter 'E' (for 'Elizabeth'), encircled by a wreath of gold roses, is superimposed over the coat of arms.
- England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and other British territories: The flag is split into four quadrants. The first and fourth quadrants represent England and contain three gold lions passant on a red field; the second quadrant represents Scotland contains a red lion rampant on a gold field; the third quadrant represents Ireland and contains the gold harp of Ireland on a blue field.
The modern Royal Standard, apart from minor changes (notably to the form of harp
used to represent Ireland), dates back to the reign of Queen Victoria
. Earlier Royal Standards incorporated the Arms of Hanover
, representing the monarch's position as Elector (later King) of Hanover and the theoretical claim made to the French throne. The most famous standards include the Scotland Impaled
Royal Standard of Queen Anne
, Hanover Quartered
of Kings George I
to George III
, and Hanover crowned
of George III
to William IV
. The latter contained the Royal Coat of Arms of Hanover superimposed over what is the modern Royal Standard (though the standard's visual representation of England, Ireland and Scotland in their quadrants was marginally different).
- Scotland: The Standard of England is used, except that the lion rampant occurs in the first and fourth quadrants, and the lions passant occur in the second quadrant.
- Australia: The flag is divided into sixths, three in the upper half and three in the lower. The first sixth represents New South Wales and bears a red Cross of St George, upon which is a gold lion in the centre and a gold star on each arm. The second sixth represents Victoria and contains a Crown and six white stars on a blue field. The third sixth represents Queensland and consists of a blue Maltese Cross, bearing a Crown, on a white field. The fourth sixth represents South Australia and includes an Australian piping shrike on a gold field. The fifth sixth represents Western Australia and consists of a black swan on a gold field. The last sixth represents Tasmania and contains a red lion on a white field. Overall is a a gold seven-pointed star, representing the six states and the territories, and on top of the star is the aforementioned blue disc.
- Barbados: The Standard is yellow, and consists of a bearded fig tree (with the leaves coloured blue) in the centre and a Pride of Barbados flower in each of the top corners. The fig tree is partly obscured by a blue disc.
- Canada: The upper two-thirds of the flag is identical to the Standard of England, except that three fleurs de lis of France occur in the fourth quadrant. The lower third of the flag contains red maple leaves of Canada on a white field. Overall is the aforementioned blue disc.
- Jamaica: The flag is white and bears a red Cross of St George. On each arm of the Cross is a gold pineapple. A blue disc is placed in the centre of the Cross.
- New Zealand: The flag is divided into four quadrants, but there is a white vertical stripe passing through the centre. The first quadrant includes four red stars on a blue field. The second quadrant consists of a golden fleece on a red field. The third quadrant contains a golden wheat sheaf on a red field. The final quadrant includes two crossed gold hammers on a blue field. The central stripe consists of three ships, but the middle ship is obscured by the blue disk superimposing the flag.
The other Commonwealth
realms do not have their own Royal Standards.
In Commonwealth countries in which she is not Queen, another flag is used that has the crowned letter 'E' in gold, surrounded by a garland of gold roses on a blue background.
In Flag protocol, the Royal Standard is supreme. It must only be flown from buildings where the Queen is present. It flies above the Union Flag, Standards of other Royal Family members, and other British flags. It never flies at half mast.
The Prince of Wales has separate standards: one used in England, one in Scotland, and one in Wales.
- England: The Royal Standard of England is used, with a white label of three points. In the centre of the flag, the crowned Arms of the Principality of Wales - four quadrants, the first and fourth with a red lion on a gold field, and the second and third with a gold lion on a red field - is superimposed. The English Standard is also used outside of England, Scotland, and Wales.
- Wales: The flag is divided into four quadrants, the first and fourth with a red lion on a gold field, and the second and third with a gold lion on a red field. Superimposed is a green shield bearing a crown.
- Scotland: The flag is based on two Scottish titles of the Prince of Wales: Duke of Rothesay and Lord of the Isles. The flag is divided into four quadrants. The first and fourth quadrants include a blue and white checkerboard band in the centre of a gold field. The second and third quadrants include a ship on a white background. A gold shield bearing the lion rampant of Scotland is superimposed.
Other members of the Royal Family have personal standards of their own. These are variants of the Royal Standard, with the bearing of a white label and either three points or pendants (for children of a sovereign), or five points (grandchildren of a sovereign):
HRH The Duke of Edinburgh
- HRH The Duke of York: The middle point bears a blue anchor, while the first and last points are blank.
- HRH The Earl of Wessex: The middle point bears a red rose, while the first and last points are blank.
- HRH The Princess Royal: The first and last point each bear a red cross. The middle point bears a red heart.
- HRH Prince William of Wales: Unlike other grandchildren of the Sovereign, Prince William uses a label with three points. The middle point bears a red shell, while the first and last points are blank.
- HRH Prince Harry: The first, middle, and last points each bear a red shell, while the second and fourth points are blank.
has his own standard based on his Greek and Danish roots. The flag is divided into four quadrants. The first quadrant, representing Denmark, consists of three blue lions passant and nine red hearts on a yellow field. The second quadrant, representing Greece, consists of a white cross on a blue field. The third quadrant contains five black and white vertical stripes. The last quadrant, representing Edinburgh, includes a black and red castle.
Other members of the Royal Family may use the Royal Standard of England, but within an ermine border, i.e. a white border with black spots representing the ermine fur.
- Norman Davies, The Isles: A History (Palgrave Macmillan, 1999)