UK flag facts
|Adopted||1 January 1801|
The Flag of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is popularly called as the Union Jack. It is officially known as the Union Flag. The flag is a blue field with the red cross of Saint George (patron saint of England) edged in white superimposed on the diagonal red cross of Saint Patrick (patron saint of Ireland), which is superimposed on the diagonal white cross of Saint Andrew (patron saint of Scotland)
Flag of UK
While UK flag appears symmetric, the white lines above and below the diagonal red are different widths. On the side closer to the flagpole (or on the left when depicted on paper), the white lines above the diagonals are wider; on the side farther from the flagpole (or on the right when depicted on paper), the converse is true.
UK Flag - right side up
UK flag pictures and images
In 1603, the year of Queen Elizabeth I's death, England and Scotland existed as completely separate nations, each with their own monarch and parliament. Elizabeth, being a spinster and therefore childless, expressed a deathbed wish that her cousin, King James VI of Scotland, be named as her successor to the English throne. Thus, the Scottish monarch was projected into the unique position of ruling two nations simultaneously. He ruled Scotland as King James VI and England as King James I. The English national flag at this period consisted of a simple red cross fully imposed upon a plain white field, this being the emblem of St. George, England's patron saint. The Scottish national flag consisted of a diagonal, or X-shaped, white cross, fully imposed upon a medium blue field. This was the emblem of St. Andrew, Scotland's patron saint.
United Kingdom Flag history
On 12 April 1606, to symbolize the monarchical unification of the two nations under himself, James created a banner to this end, by fully superimposing the English red cross (with a narrow white border to represent its normal white field) upon the Scottish flag. This became known as the Union Flag, and it was the forerunner of the present flag of Great Britain. In the decree of issuance of the new flag, James stipulated that all ships of both English and Scottish registry were to fly this flag from atop their mainmasts. The Cross of St. George was to be flown from the foremasts of the English ships, while the Cross of St. Andrew was to be flown form the foremasts of the Scottish ships. The Union Flag, created by James in 1606, continued in use as a purely symbolic banner until 1707. Then, during the reign of Queen Anne, the parliaments of England and Scotland were united to form the new nation of Great Britain, and Anne officially adopted the 101 year old banner as the national flag of the newly created nation. After the Acts of Union 1707, the flag gained a regularised status as "the ensign armorial of the Kingdom of Great Britain", the newly created state. It was then adopted by land forces as well, although the blue field used on land-based versions was lighter
When Ireland joined the Union in 1801, the Cross of St. Patrick was added to have a flag reflecting the new union of England, Scotland and Ireland.
UK flag display rules
Union Flag has to fly full mast from 11 am to sunset on the day the new Sovereign is proclaimed. The Union Flag is flown from Government buildings at half-mast from the announcement of the death of the Sovereign until the end of mourning period and on the day of the funeral of a member of the British Royal Family and on the day of the funeral of a foreign Head of State and on the day of the funeral of a former British Prime Minister. Half-mast means the flag is flown two-thirds of the way up the flagpole with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the flagpole
England, EU, Wales and Scotland flags