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56854.  Sat Mar 04, 2006 7:17 am Reply with quote

Q: What is the UK’s national anthem?
F: God Save The Queen.
A: There isn’t one (sorry, Flash!)

I’ve always understood that the UK doesn’t have an official national anthem - although the appalling dirge God Save The Queen is traditionally used as such. Unfortunately I’ve only been able to find one source for this, and even then it’s unreferenced:

Does anybody know more? On the same sort of subject, am I right in thinking that Great Britain does not have a national flag? Since the Union Flag is the flag of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, therefore - pedantically - it can’t also be the flag of mere Great Britain?

56880.  Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:33 am Reply with quote

Ooh - Mr nitpicky!

Only one flag is a single colour (or 'field')... And another flag actually has a Kalashnikov on it...

56882.  Sat Mar 04, 2006 9:40 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
And another flag actually has a Kalashnikov on it...

I like that - I wonder if one needs copyright permission to use a branded product on one's flag?

56906.  Sat Mar 04, 2006 10:34 am Reply with quote

The sources all seem to agree that there isn't an Act of Parliament which designates a UK National Anthem, but it is the anthem used on official occasions - isn't denying it the status of National Anthem a bit like saying we don't have a constitution?

Frederick The Monk
58016.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:47 am Reply with quote

When King James VI of Scotland ascended to the English throne, thereby becoming James I of England, the national flags of England and Scotland on land continued to be, respectively, the red St George's cross and the white St Andrew's cross. Confusion arose, however, as to what flag would be appropriate at sea. On 12 April 1606 a proclamation was issued:

"All our subjects in this our isle and kingdom of Great Britain and the members thereof, shall bear in their main top the red cross commonly called St George's Cross and the white cross commonly called St. Andrew's Cross joined together according to a form made by our heralds and sent to our Admiral to be published to our said subjects."

This is the first known reference to the Union Flag. Although the original design referred to has been lost, it is presumed that it was the flag which, with the addition of the St Patrick's cross, forms the basic design of the British Union Flag today.

It is also interesting to note that the new flag was not universally popular nor accepted. The English were not overly pleased at the obscuring of the white field of the St George's flag. The Scots, with more justification, were upset at the fact that the red cross was laid over the white. The Scots proposed a number of alternative designs. These included:

The St George's flag with the St Andrew's flag in the canton
The St George's flag with a St Andrew's flag in each quarter. In this bizarre design the white cross of the St Andrew's flag does not extend to the corners of the flag.
The St George's flag with a St Andrew's flag in the centre


Frederick The Monk
58017.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 7:50 am Reply with quote

The June edition of "BBC History" magazine has a short piece marking the four hundredth anniversary of the Union of the Crowns in 1603 when James VI of Scotland became James I of England. This included a photograph of a series of designs for a Union Flag, here redrawn by Ivan Sache. The caption to the article said: "Cross countries: designs for a Union flag, kept in the National Library of Scotland, c 1604 by an unknown artist; the Note of Preference is signed by the Earl of Nottingham" [this note was attached to the fifth design, per pale Cross of St. George, Cross of St. Andrew.]

58040.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 9:30 am Reply with quote

Fred, your post 21623 pointed out that the flag of one US State still features the Union Jack: Hawaii.

Frederick The Monk
58057.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 10:28 am Reply with quote

God Bless 'Em.

58080.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:31 am Reply with quote

Is Wales acknowledged in the Union Jack? If not, there's a curious state of affairs whereby the British flag incorporates Ireland but excludes Wales. We should be able to do something with that.

58083.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 11:48 am Reply with quote

I believe Wales was already part of the Union when the Union Flag was created, so it didn't have any say.

A bit curious, like you say.

Frederick The Monk
58233.  Wed Mar 08, 2006 6:12 pm Reply with quote

This is what the very splendid Flags of the World site has to say about the issue:

The Absence of the Welsh Dragon on the Union Jack

It is often noted that there is no representation of the Welsh flag on the Union Jack or Royal Standard. The reasons for this are historical - when Edward I defeated Llewelyn, he included Wales in an amalgamated kingdom, and made his son, the future Edward II the Prince of Wales. Edward, Prince of Wales', flag was quartered red lion on yellow and yellow lion on red, and is known as the flag of Llewelyn. This flag, with an escutcheon of a green shield with a crown, is used today by Charles as Prince of Wales. The emblem of three feathers and the motto "Ich Dien" was not acquired until the time of Henry I's grandson, who slew the king of Bohemia and assumed his arms.

Robin Ashburner, ICV York, July 2001
I have read (but would have to check the reference) that [the origin of the three feathers from the King of Bohemia] is a myth, and that Edward the Black Prince in fact inherited both the arms incorporating three ostrich feathers (silver on a black shield) and the motto ("Ich Dien", perfectly ordinary German for "I serve") through his mother. Certainly the Black Prince used the feather arms in tournaments, referring to the black shield as his shield for peace. The shield for war was, of course, his arms of France quartering England with the label of three points that denoted the king's eldest son. "Ich Dien" remains to this day in the arms of the Prince of Wales, appearing below Prince Charles's shield instead of the usual royal "Dieu et mon droit". Being a member (ex officio as Prince of Wales) of the Order of the Garter, Charles also has the Garter around his shield, bearing the order's motto of "Honi soit qui mal y pense".

Mike Oettle, 14 January 2002

The British Union Jack was formed by the union of the flags of Scotland and England when the crowns of Scotland and England were united in 1605 by the accession of James VI of Scotland to the throne of England (as James I of England). Thus we have the "United Kingdom". Wales was already subsumed as a principality in England long before that, so was never considered to have a "portion" of the flag. That is why we talk about the Principality of Wales, but the Kingdom of Scotland.

Wales was united with England under the Statute of Wales, passed on 19 February 1284. Union with England was entrenched with the passage of Acts in 1535 and 1543 whereby parliamentary taxation was extended to Wales, and English common law applied in the principality.
Mike Oettle, 8 July 2004

58252.  Thu Mar 09, 2006 4:49 am Reply with quote

Well, I think that may be worth running. What's the question? Maybe:

The Union Flag is an amalgamation of these three crosses - what do they represent?

with a forfeit for 'Wales' or 'St David'.

Notes should include the stuff about how the word 'English' was regarded as including the Scots and Welsh until the 1930s.

58257.  Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:17 am Reply with quote

"That is why we talk about the Principality of Wales, but the Kingdom of Scotland"

Does anybody talk about the Kingdom of Scotland? The Kingdom of Fife, certainly, but I've never heard the K of S.

58263.  Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:33 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Notes should include the stuff about how the word 'English' was regarded as including the Scots and Welsh until the 1930s.

And also how it is literally, actually, physically impossible for any American to tell the difference between “England” and “Britain,” and how, just supposing you happened to be a British writer writing for American editors, you would find that, as often as not, they would argue with you about this, they would think you were wrong, on the grounds that, obviously, USians (or Americans as they incorrectly call themselves) know more about other people’s countries than other people do.

Sorry. Bit of an obsession of mine, this whole matter.

One part of which is that, of the four alleged “nations” which made up the pre-partition UK (as opposed to the three which make up Britain, if you don’t count Cornwall, which no-one ever did until very recently), only England and Scotland could be said to have existed as single, united nations pre-union. There never was an “Ireland” or a “Wales,” except as parts of Britain.

And also that “Britain” is much, much older than “England,” “Wales,” or “Scotland.”

Flash - you mention the 1930s as the end of conflation (though you don’t mean it literally, I’m sure, as we still read and hear the England/Britain error on a daily basis): are you thinking of the sudden (and very noticeable in the fossil record) use of “Britain” and “Great Britain” during WW2? It is quite fascinating to watch it happen - not least because it suggests that the Greater Englanders had known what they were doing all along!

(Most Americans, incidentally, seem to believe that “Great” Britain is a boast, rather than a geographical term. My hobby is calling Texans “yanks” - that annoys ‘em.)

It’s especially weird to see how often Scottish and Welsh people in those pre-War eras used ‘England’ for ‘Britain.’

How about asking the panel which national cricket team Freddie Flintoff plays for; the forfeit is England, the correct answer is England and Wales.

All of which reminds me of a joke black activists used to tell in the 1970s: “You’re ‘West Indian’ when you’re on the dole, you’re ‘black’ when you’re arrested - but you’re ‘British’ when you win a bronze medal!”

Frederick The Monk
58267.  Thu Mar 09, 2006 5:51 am Reply with quote

MatC wrote:
Does anybody talk about the Kingdom of Scotland?

I used to, but I stopped in 1707.


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