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Royal Standards of Lesotho

Last modified: 2019-01-01 by bruce berry
Keywords: lesotho | royal standard |
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image by Jan Oskar Engene, 22 Nov 2006
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Lesotho Royal Standard (2006 - )

Like the Lesotho national flag, the Lesotho Royal Standard changed on 04 October 2006. The design follows that of the new national flag, being three horizontal stripes of blue, white and green, with the Lesotho Coat of Arms in the centre of the white stripe. As with the national flag, the pantones are Green 347c, Brown 478c and Reflex Blue.

There have also been some colour modifications to the Arms, namely: the crocodile is blue; the top of the base is also blue, the scroll is now brown with the motto in white.
Bruce Berry, 22 Nov 2006

Lesotho Royal Standard (1987 - 2006)

[Royal Lesotho flag] image by Santiago Dotor, 24 Feb 2000 and retouched by Željko Heimer, 07 Apr 2002

A new Royal Standard was also introduced following the adoption of new national flag. This has the full coat of arms in the canton, and is described officially as being a rectangular tricolor three by two, per bend reversed, white, blue and green, the white occupying half the surface area of the flag and charged, with the centre line one quarter of the distance from the hoist with the Coat of Arms of the Kingdom of Lesotho, proper; the blue and green each occupying half the remaining surface area of the flag.
Bruce Berry, 19 February 1998

By the time Crampton's 1989 "Complete Guide to Flags" was published, Lesotho's national flag had changed to the current model, and the royal standard followed suite. Crampton also gives further detail on the Arms:
"Royal standard. As national [flag], but with the whole arms in colour in the canton." ... "Behind the shield are its spine and a spear and knobkerrie (a stick used as a club by tribesmen)."
Santiago Dotor, 24 Feb 2000

Royal Standard. 2:3
This flag is similar to the national flag, in which the emblem is replaced with the national coat of arms.
Source: Album 2000.
Željko Heimer, 07 Apr 2002

We saw an actual sample of a Lesotho Royal Standard at the International Congress of Vexillology (ICV) in York (Aug 2001) from Bruce Berry's collection. The Coat of Arms was decidedly different from what we usually see in the books and what we see in illustrated in the flag above. The outlines were the same, but the colours were quite different. 
Marcus Schmöger, 07 Apr 2002

Following the seizure of power in a coup by troops of the Lesotho paramilitary force on 19 January 1986, the new ruling Military Council called for suggestions from the public for a new national flag. The previous national flag was considered objectionable to many because of its close association with the ousted prime minister, Chief Leabua Jonathan, and his Basutoland National Party, which had ruled the country since independence and whose colours of horizontal blue, white, green and red had obviously influenced the design of the country's first national flag. On the first anniversary of the military coup, a new national flag and royal standard were adopted. The Royal Standard continued in the tradition of being a modified version of the national flag and is described in the Second Schedule of the Emblems and Public Seal Order (Order No. 2 of 1987) as being:

“A rectangular tricolour proportion three by two (3 x 2), per bend reversed, white, blue and green, the white occupying half the surface area of the flag and charged, with the center line, one quarter (1/4) of the distance from the hoist with the coat of arms of the Kingdom of Lesotho proper; the blue and green each occupying the remaining surface of the flag.”

Unlike the official description of the first royal standard where no illustration was provided, the new royal standard is illustrated in this Order. The Order also provides an heraldic description and illustration of the Lesotho Arms in Schedule 1. The Order also specifies that any person, without the authority of the King of Lesotho, who uses the royal standard in any manner except for the purposes for which it is intended, is committing an offence and will be subject to a fine or imprisonment, or both.  

(Source: Royal Standards in Southern Africa, Paper presented at the XIX ICV, York, July 2001 by Bruce Berry).
Bruce Berry, 09 Apr 2002

Lesotho Royal Standard (1966 - 1987)

[Lesotho Royal Standard 1966-1987] by Santiago Dotor, 24 Feb 2000

Bruce Berry states: "The Royal Standard is similar to the [1966-1987] National Flag, but has the Arms in the centre, with the Basotho hat [that's the white device on the former flag] above. These [Arms] are an African shield of traditional shape, in yellow, charged with a brown crocodile. The shield is supported by two brown ponies, and stands on a representation of Thaba Bosiu, the Mountain of Night, the stronghold of King Moshoeshoe I, with the motto Khotso, Pula, Nala in red letters on a gold scroll. This means 'Peace, Rain, Plenty' [in the Sotho language]."

Source: Barraclough and Crampton's 1981 "Flags of the World", pp. 151 and 152 [c2b81].
Santiago Dotor, 24 Feb 2000

I designed the original royal standard and a new coat of arms for the newly independent Lesotho. The latter featured a horizontal crocodile (Kuena in Sesotho) supporting a traditional Basotho shield, set above a drawing of Thaba Bosiu ('mountain by night'), the mountain fortress where Moshoeshoe I established his capital on top of the flat-topped mountain plateau, or mesa, about 20 miles (32 km) from the present capital of Maseru. When I showed the late king of Lesotho this design for the royal standard, which required his approval, he was polite and acquiescent, saying "It's about the best we could have hoped for".
Peter Hancock, 28 Feb 2012

Lesotho Royal Standard 1966-1987 (incorrect version)

[Lesotho Royal Standard 1966-1987, wrong version] image by Santiago Dotor, 24 Feb 2000

Whitney Smith's Flags Through the Ages and Across the World (1975) [smi75b] shows the "Royal flag" as very similar to the 1966-1987 national flag, but with a much larger hat device and the Arms *on*, not below, it. Smith however uses the FIAV symbol for a "reconstructed flag (design based on written sources only)", so he might not be in this instance fully reliable. About the Arms he says:

"The original coat of arms design drafted prior to independence bore a representation on its shield of Moshoeshoe I. Heraldic experts in South Africa advised that this was improper. Instead, the personal symbol of the king and his dynasty, a crocodile, was substituted. Immediately below the shield is a representation of Thaba Bosiu (Mountain of Night) where Moshoeshoe I first rallied his nation in the new homeland and where in 1870 he was buried."

Later Smith in "Flags and Arms across the World" (1985) proves that that was certainly a mistake, for the royal flag is here shown as described by Crampton 1981 (see above), with the hat device being approximately 9/40ths as high as the flag, and the Arms below it about 4/11ths.
Santiago Dotor, 24 Feb 2000