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Flags of Scotland

Proudly flying the two Scottish flags in our backyard!!

Scotland has two widely recognized flags. (We fly them both on our sons' fort in our backyard!) The first is the blue flag with the white diagonal cross, and the second is the yellow flag with the red Lion Rampant. But what are they called, and which is the national flag of Scotland?

The Saltire, the national flag of Scotland

The first, the blue flag with the white “X” is called the Saltire, or St. Andrew’s Cross, and is the national flag of Scotland. St. Andrew is the patron saint of Scotland, and it is said he was crucified on an X-shaped cross. The colors of white and blue go back to a legend of the Pictish (Scottish) King Angus II, concerning a particular battle against the English King Aethelstans' army of Angles and Saxons in the year 832. King Angus saw St. Andrew in a dream, and was promised victory. The next day, King Angus and his troops witnessed a cloud formation that seemed to resemble St. Andrew’s Cross, against the bright blue sky. This sight rallied the Pictish troops, and they went on to victory. The white St. Andrew’s Cross against a blue sky was first used as a flag in the 16th century, though the symbol of the saltire was used in Scotland since the 13th century. The Saltire is thought to be one of the oldest national flags still in use. The blue color has ranged from Sky blue to Navy blue, depending on the dyes available. (In 2003, the color Pantone 300 was officially adopted as the standard)

The Union  Jack, flag of the United Kingdom

The Saltire was incorporated into the British flag, the Union Jack, along with the red cross of St. George (England), and the red saltire of St. Patrick (Ireland), with Wales not being represented due to that country already being united with England at the time of the flag’s creation in 1606, under the rule of King James I.

The Royal Banner of Scotland, with the Lion Rampant

The yellow flag with the red Lion Rampant is the Royal Banner of the Royal Arms of Scotland, also known as the Royal Banner of Scotland, Royal Standard of Scotland, or Lion Rampant of Scotland. It is the flag that was used by the Scottish monarchy. The Lion Rampant may have been used by monarchy as a symbol in Scotland as early as the 11th century, though there is some debate over which monarch used it first, and when. The term “lion rampant” refers to an upright lion with claws extended, as if ready to strike. On the Royal Banner of Scotland, the lion is red, with azure (blue) claws and tongue. This is set on a gold background, bordered with two opposing rows of lilies, in red. Because it is a Royal flag, its use is technically restricted to members of the royalty. However, King George V did give permission to the public to wave small versions of this flag during his Silver Jubilee in 1935. Today, it is often seen being waved by fans at sporting events.

At Mountain Thyme, we have both flags represented in our shop (though we only use the Lion Rampant itself and not the whole Royal Banner, just in case some stickler out there wanted to make a fuss). Shop all our Flag designs here!