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Royal standard of Scotland versus the Royal Standard for Scotland

Last modified: 2012-01-20 by rob raeside
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Royal Standard of Scotland

Scottish Royal Banner

[Royal banner of Scotland] by Graham Bartram

from World Flag Database

The Royal Arms of Scotland are "or, a lion rampant gules, armed and langued azure, within a double tressure flory-counter-flory of the second". Many flag makers omit the blue on the tongue and claws simply because they are printing the flags (Rampant Lion flags in Scotland tend to be the cheap handwaving type, except for the few official ones) and don't want to bother with another pass for the blue.
Graham Bartram, 20 July 1999

See our page on the Royal Standard of Scotland, (ratio 2:3).  Unusually depicted in Politikens Flagbog (2000) (2:3) with 12 fleur-de-lys. It has it that the tressure flory-counter-flory should remind of the 'auld alliance' with France. It's unclear when this standard existed as such, however it's apparently been taken into use again since the reopening of the Scottish parliament.
Peter Hans van der Muijzenberg, 23 April 2002

Shorter Variant

[Royal banner of Scotland] 4:5 image by Martin Grieve, 6 April 2007

On page 30 of Graham Bartram's book entitled "British Flags and Emblems" the ancient Scottish Royal Standard is depicted in the ratio of 4:5, but it is my understanding in this matter that the Lord Lyon of Scotland prefers a ratio of 3:4 for this (and the St. Andrews saltire) flag? Graham refers to the proportions of 3:5 on his World flag database website, although it could be argued that 3:5 Scottish flags are manufactured and sold, but disagrees with the image shown.

The style of the Scottish Lion when it defaces the British Royal Standard (since 1957) is totally different from his counterpart on the "traditional" version depicted here. There are a great many versions of Scotland's Royal Standard illustrated through the years and these differences consist of:
a) The overall proportions - 1:2, 3:5, 2:3, 3:4, 4:5
b) The style of rampant lion - Tail droops towards sinister, Tail rises behind head.
c) The double tressure flory - this is the "inner bordurement " which sometimes contains 5 or 3 Fleur-de-Lis along the top and bottom.

This is also the flag of the Lord High Commissioner to the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, the Lord Lyon King of Arms, the keeper of the great Seal (who is the Scottish First Minister) and the Lord Lieutenants of the counties (Scotland only).

From my own personal experience, the flag is(was) usually at 1:2 ratio, and is often disfigured by the addition of the date 1314 recalling the battle of Bannockburn but this is only waved by football supporters and has no legal or official standing.
Martin Grieve, 6 April 2007

Royal standard for Scotland (banner)

Scottish version of the Royal Standard

[Queen's banner in Scotland] image by Martin Grieve, 8 April 2007

From Flags of the World by E.M.C. Barraclough:

"Scotland has its own version of the Royal Standard in which the Red Lion rampant occupies the senior positions in the first and fourth quarters, whilst the England's three lions are in the second, and the harp of Ireland in the third. In 1953 the Secretary of State for Scotland raised the question why this form was not employed when Her Majesty was in residence in Scotland. In reply it was pointed out that the version of the Royal Arms officially adopted in 1801 was that which had England in the first and fourth quarters and Scotland in the second, and this had always been used both in Scotland and in the Commonwealth. It was however agreed that there was a long established practice that when there was a distinctive Scottish use the Scottish version of the Royal Arms might be displayed."
Thus there is a Scottish version of the Royal Arms but these have limited use only as arms and only with the expressed agreement of the Sovereign. The only Scottish Royal Banner is that showing only the Red Lion Rampant.
Graeme M. Smith, 21 January 1996

In July 1911 the St Andrew Society asked that a "Scoto-British Royal Standard" should be flown at Holyrood House and Edinburgh Castle when the King was in residence during his visit to Edinburgh. The request was ignored, and in 1912 the Society passed a formal resolution asking that a flag with the quarterings of the Great Seal of Scotland should in future be flown by the Sovereign when in Scotland. The resolution was presented to the Commander-in-Chief, Scottish Command, and passed on to Buckingham Palace. The King's Private Secretary replied that the King had decided that the Royal Standard was the flag to be flown at any place within the Empire when HM was resident or visiting, as it was HM's personal flag. The President of the Society was not content, because the reply had been passed to him by word of mouth, and insisted upon a written reply. A formal letter was sent on 7 March 1912. [National Archives (PRO) WO 32/16464]

The matter of a Scottish version of the Royal Standard was raised again in 1953 by the Secretary of State for Scotland. It was decided that since the Scottish version of the Royal Arms was used in Scotland there was no reason why a Scottish version of the Royal Standard should not similarly be used.
David Prothero, 8 April 2007