What is the flag on the Queen’s coffin? What the Royal Standard represents

·2-min read
What is the flag on the Queen’s coffin? What the Royal Standard represents

World leaders are arriving at Westminster Abbey for the Queen’s state funeral later on Monday morning.

In the lead up, thousands of people queued for hours each day to view Queen Elizabeth’s coffin, which was lying in state at Westminster Hall.

Those who walked past Her Majesty’s coffin or see the photographs around would have noticed the casket draped in a colourful flag.

The flag is called the Royal Standard, and it represents the sovereign and the United Kingdom. It is split into four quarterings, with the colours red, yellow and blue.

Each quartering represents a country in the UK (excluding Wales): England takes up the first and fourth quarters and is identified by the three lions passants; Scotland is the second quarter with a lion rampant and Ireland, portrayed with a harp is the third quarter.

Throughout the years, the composition of the Royal Standard has taken various forms and Wales is not included in today’s version.

According to the Royal Family website, Wales is not represented in the Royal Standard because of its historical position as a principality in the context of the United Kingdom.

The site says: “Wales is not represented in the Royal Standard, as its special position as a Principality was recognised by the creation of the Prince of Wales long before the incorporation of the quarterings for Scotland and Ireland in the Royal Arms.”

HM Queen Elizabeth II - In pictures

(PA)
(PA)
Princess Elizabeth waving from the carriage as she drives in London in May 1928 (PA)
Princess Elizabeth waving from the carriage as she drives in London in May 1928 (PA)
The Queen wearing the Imperial State Crown and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in uniform of Admiral of the Fleet wave from the balcony to the onlooking crowds around the gates of Buckingham Palace after the Coronation in 1953 (PA)
The Queen wearing the Imperial State Crown and Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh in uniform of Admiral of the Fleet wave from the balcony to the onlooking crowds around the gates of Buckingham Palace after the Coronation in 1953 (PA)
England captain Bobby Moore receives the Jules Rimet Trophy from The Queen after England defeated West Germany in 1966 (AP)
England captain Bobby Moore receives the Jules Rimet Trophy from The Queen after England defeated West Germany in 1966 (AP)
Queen Elizabeth II and Paddington Bear having cream tea at Buckingham Palace (PA)
Queen Elizabeth II and Paddington Bear having cream tea at Buckingham Palace (PA)
(PA Wire)
(PA Wire)
(Chris Jackson/Buckingham Palace via Getty Images)
(Chris Jackson/Buckingham Palace via Getty Images)
(PA)
(PA)
The Queen sitting with her corgis at Virginia Water to watch competitors, including Prince Philip in the Marathon of the European Driving Championship, part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1973 (PA)
The Queen sitting with her corgis at Virginia Water to watch competitors, including Prince Philip in the Marathon of the European Driving Championship, part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1973 (PA)
The then the Duke and Duchess of York with their daughter Princess Elizabeth at her christening on May 1, 1926. It was not expected that Elizabeth would become Queen (PA)
The then the Duke and Duchess of York with their daughter Princess Elizabeth at her christening on May 1, 1926. It was not expected that Elizabeth would become Queen (PA)
Princess Elizabeth arriving at Olympia for the Royal Tournament in 1930 (PA)
Princess Elizabeth arriving at Olympia for the Royal Tournament in 1930 (PA)

The flag was made by Yorkshire-based Flying Colours Flagmakers, according to the BBC. The company, which has been making flags since 1994, confirmed the royal household ordered the 12ft (3.6m) by 6ft (1.8m), hand-sewn standard last year.

Owner of the firm Andy Ormrod said of the process: “An artist will have designed it. Another person will have sewn it, while a third person put it all together.”

You might have seen the Royal Standard above Buckingham Palace before. On days where the Royal Standard is flown it means the monarch is in residence. The Union Jack takes the place of the Royal Standard on days when the monarch is not in residence.

You would never find the Royal Standard flown at half mast, unlike the Union Flag, even after the death of a monarch, as there is always a sovereign on the throne.