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Royal Standard

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. 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 and France, 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).

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.

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 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.

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