Culture and traditions

Curiosities about the shield and the flag of the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is an island and sovereign country of Europe. His form of Government is a parliamentary monarchy and the current monarch is Queen Elizabeth II. As such, it has a series of main national symbols: the coat of arms and the flag. Thus, in what follows we expose what the shield and flag of the UK are like, as well as their origin and meaning.

United kingdom flag

In English, the official name of the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is Union Flagwhose meaning is Union flag, since it represents the four constituent nations of this country.

The flag of the United Kingdom is the result of uniting the patron saints of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, not including Wales. Commonly it can be found in English also under the denomination Union Jack.

The red cross on a white background that can be seen in the center represents the flag of England, called St. George's Cross (in English, Cross of St George).

St George's Cross or Flag of England

The white blade on a blue background is representative of the Saint Andrew's Cross (Saint Andrew’s Cross in English) or Flag of Scotland. The white blade that can be seen in it represents Saint Andrew the Apostle, considered the patron of Scotland.

Before joining the Union Flag, the background blue color used to vary between light blue and navy blue. Usually, this depended on the region where it was manufactured. However, when it became part of the flag of the United Kingdom, navy blue was chosen as the official color, specifically the Pantone 300, although in the United Kingdom the Pantone 280 is used.

Saint Andrew's Cross or Flag of Scotland

The final version of the flag of the United Kingdom, that is, the one we know today, dates from 1801, year in which the union of Northern Ireland with Great Britain took place. In this way, the Saint Patrick's Cross or Saint Patrick’s Cross (red blade on white background).

In addition, the crosses of San Andres and San Patricio were interspersed to avoid talking about the primacy of Scotland over Ireland or vice versa. Welsh it is not represented on the flag of the United Kingdom because, when the first version of the flag was created, Wales was already part of England.

Crosses that make up the Flag of the United Kingdom

Coat of arms

The coat of arms is owned by the British monarch and, in English, is called Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.

It is also used as national crest in the United Kingdom. What appears in it are representative symbols of the constituent states that compose it, that is, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.

The motto, written in the French language, is Dieu et mon droit (God and my right). The shield is divided into three parts: the cimera, the crown and the lieutenant.

United Kingdom Coat of Arms

Thus, at the top (upper part) we find a crowned leopard lion, in the crown (left part) a lion crowned in representation of England and in the lieutenant (right part) a chained unicorn, in honor of Scotland.

The center of the shield is quartered, that is, divided into four barracks and each of them has a meaning in relation to the constitutive State to which it corresponds.

Thus, the first and last barracks (the one in the upper left corner and the one in the lower right corner) represent England with its three leopard lions.

Quartered shield representing the Constitutive States

The second quarter (upper right corner) represents Scotland and a rampant lion standing and resting on one of its legs appears.

In the third quarter (lower left corner), the representative shield of Northern Ireland is observed: a yellow harp on a blue background. This shield is equal to that of the Republic of Ireland.

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