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British Royal Flags - Index

Last modified: 2022-10-08 by rob raeside
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Standards of children of the British sovereign

The standard of a child of the British Sovereign bears a white 'label' with three points; a grandchild's label has five points. Some labels are distinguished by special emblems. Other members fly the royal standard, ermine-bordered.

The charges currently in use are St. George cross, Tudor rose, red lion, red heart, blue anchor, blue fleur-de-lys, thistle proper, and since the 18th birthday of Prince William of Wales, on his arms a red scallop. A royal standard with the bordure ermine should be interpreted as the Royal standard with a bordure white, with 10 ermine spots and is used by other members of the royal family who don't have their own flag.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 24 April 2002

Nathan Lamm asked, "These points are trapezoidal, while the current ones seem to be rectangular. Did they change?"

In "Boutell's Heraldry", Brook-Little wrote that the pendant pieces of labels may be straight or slightly splayed, and shows four different styles. The type selected seems to be at the whim of the illustrator. I don't know if there is an 'official' shape for use on royal labels.
David Prothero, 1 September 2002

Peter Johnson asked, "I note that on the recently posted standards the labels extend to the edges of the flags themselves. This seems to contrast with earlier practice when labels remained entirely within the body of the flag. From what I can make out, it seems that the extension of the label to the edge of the flag did not become the norm until the standards took on their present design in 1957. Am I right about this?"

I have not been able to find any differenced heraldic shield in which the label does not stretch from edge to edge. It would seem therefore that labels on banners of arms should stretch from edge to edge, and that either some illustrations of differenced Royal Standards are inaccurate, or they are accurate, and flags were made that did not conform to correct heraldic practice.

No illustrations of "short labels" have been found that are later than 1913, when an amendment to Flaggenbuch 1905 had a "long label" on the Standard of the Prince of Wales, and a "short label" on the Standard of the Duke of Connaught. This roughly coincides with the period when revisions were made to the Royal Standard after Scott-Gatty criticised the appearance of the Royal Standard and offered to correct and improve its design in 1906.
David Prothero, 25 April 2007

I have a copy of Hounsel's "Flags of all Nations", circa 1873 which shows the flags of the Prince of Wales and Duke of Edinburgh - both are Royal Standards with Saxony, and they have full length labels, though the points are dovetailed.
Ralph Kelly, 26 April 2007

Labels on Royal Standards can vary in appearance, and different style labels may be shown on the same Standard by different sources.
David Prothero, 30 April 2007

Does the Royal Standard fly at half-mast?

Queen Victoria died at Osbourne (on the Isle of Wight) in 1901, and her body, accompanied by her eldest son (now King Edward VII), was loaded aboard the Royal Yacht (the “Victoria and Albert”) for carriage to the mainland. The Royal Standard was at half mast, and when asked why by Edward, was told (by a somewhat shocked Captain) that Her Majesty was dead – “but” replied Edward “The King is alive, so raise it up”.

As was said in the relevant article this Standard represents the Monarchy which is continuous so is never flown at half mast.
Christopher Southworth, 8 May 2017