Thursday, 9 December 2010

Our "other" National flag

On St Andrew's Day I told a wee tale of how we supposedly ended up with the Saltire as our national flag. As a follow up, on this day 845 years ago our other national flag came into use. You'll often see the red lion rampant flown alongside the saltire but I'm sure it has the Lord Lyon choking on his claret. That is because it is actually a royal standard. The red lion on yellow background (OK, Or, a lion rampant Gules, for heraldic purists) is now only one quarter of the Queen's royal standard but it was the one used by Scottish kings up until 1603 when James VI became James I of Scotland, England, Ireland and France.

On this day in 1165 King Malcolm died. He was succeeded by his younger brother William I also known as William the Lion. William I reigned until 1214 when his son Alexander II inherited the throne. He's not remembered for much and his only invasion of England led to capture and humiliation but he did leave behind a rather splendid flag for his son and all future kings of Scots to inherit.

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