Another thing that has interested me in royalty is the royal coat of arms and the royal standard. I am a strange American I even fly the royal standard at my home! It is funny on the 4th of July when we celebrate out independence my neighbors are flying the old Star and Stripes but I still fly the royal standard. Yes, I am a little weird.
The royal standard is the flag that is flown wherever the sovereign is in residence. Generally the Royal Standard consists of the images depicted on the Heraldic Shield (Escutcheon) of a Coat of Arms.
The Royal standard has gone through many changes over the centuries. In this post I am going to hit the highlights of the changes to the standards and I am not going to discuss some of the minor tweaks and changes that occurred over the years.
This coat of arms was attributed to King Richard I of England, which replaced an older an older standard with two gold lions rampant on a field of red. Historians debate when this escutcheon came into prominence. Some historians claim that it was Richard’s father, King Henry II of England, who used this as his royal standard. From either the time of Richard I or Henry II this standard was used until 140 when it was changed.
When Edward III claimed the throne of France he added the fleurs-de-lis of France on a blue field quartered with the arms of England. This style, with multiple fleurs-de-lis, lasted until 1406 when it was replaced with a shield that had only three fleurs-de-lis, the same number that the Kings of France had begun to use. This standard lasted ..for the most part…until 1603. There were other changes a few monarchs added only to be changed back to the 1406 standard.
This was the Royal Standard of Scotland. A red lion, rampant, on a yellow field within a double royal tressure, flory counter-flory, first used by William I, King of Scots. In 1603 James VI, King of Scots inherited the English throne and quartered the Scottish arms with that of England/France and with the Harp of Ireland. This was used until 1707 when the union of England and Scotland occurred. In 1707 The Royal Arms of England and Scotland were impaled and moved to the first and fourth quarters with France placed in second quarter and Ireland the third quarter.
In 1707 Georg-Ludwig Elector of Hanover and Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg inherited the British throne as King George I and placed his Hanoverian arms in the fourth quarter of the shield. This changed when Hanover became a Kingdom and the arms of Hanover were impaled in the center of the Standard. In 1801 the fleurs-de-lis of France were removed when the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was formally established and the Kings of Great Britain gave up their silly claims to the throne of France..
This final change to the royal Standard and Escutcheon happened in 1837 when Hanover was removed. Because Hanover followed the Salic Law which barred women from ruling in their own right. Her uncle, Ernest-August, Duke of Cumberland became the king of Hanover. England was placed in the first and fourth quarter, while Scotland was placed in the second quarter and the Harp of Ireland placed in the third quarter. This has remained unchanged since 1837.
Here is the Royal Standard as it is today. The first example is one which is flown in England, Wales and Ireland. The second example favors Scotland in the First and Fourth quarter and is flown in Scotland.