Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Personal Flags

We normally think of countries having flags, or government, military and political organisation. But practically anything can have a flag. The personal flag is possibly the oldest type of flag, going back to when man first wanted to display his symbol in battle. However in the modern world personal flags are usually to denote the presence of a VIP or a symbol of property or office. Perhaps the flag used by the person in perhaps best known job in the world is this:
Yes this is the flag of the President of the United States of America. It should be note that this is only the flag of the President, while he is the president, when his term is over the new President will use this flag, so while it is a personal flag it is more a flag of office rather than a heraldic banner which is the flag of an individual until it is passed on to their heir.. 
Many world leaders have their own personal flags. The flag used by the Président de la République française/President of the French Republic or simply French President is simply a French Tricolour but with a narrow white bar.
This flag was used by the former president Nichols Sarkozy, however I am unsure if the new president uses it. Like the president, the prime minister also has a flag this is a tricolour but with a larger red bar.
[Car flag]
 This is also included in the flag for ministers of French overseas territories.
This use of flags to denote various positions within a nations government is common throughout the world, not just in France.Flags are also used for officers of state, in the UK every county has a representative of the crown. They are called Lord Lieutenants, in the past  they used the state flag (Union Flag) but  in 1910 the current flag was introduced so that the Union Flag could be used by anybody. The flag used by a Lord Lt is a Union Flag with a crown and sword. 
The only exception to this is in Scotland where the Royal Banner of Scotland (not to be confused with the Royal Standard used in Scotland) is used as they are representing the monarch. The Flags of Governors of overseas territories bear the Arms or Badge of the territory encircled by a garland in the centre of a Union Jack

 It is also common in the military to use flags to denote rank. Especially with Flag officers/General Officer or equivalent. I will use the US army for my example as their star system has become almost universally recognised for general ranks
[General of the Army flag]
General of the Army
[Army General flag]
[Army Lieutenant General flag]

Lieutenant General
[Army Major General flag]
Major General
[Army Brigadier General flag]
Brigadier General
The flags of some other world leader (in no particular order) are:
[Flag of President of Iceland]
Forseti Íslands/President of Iceland
Presidente da República Portuguesa/President of Portuguese Republic
Uachtarán na hÉireann/President of Republic of Ireland 
President of Uganda 
File:Flag of the Governor-General of New Zealand.svg
'Te Kāwana Tianara o Aotearoa'/Governor General of New Zealand 
File:Presidential Standard of Brazil.svg
Presidente da República Federativa do Brasil/President of Federal Republic of Brazil
File:Estandarte Real de España.svg

Estandarte Real de España/Spanish Royal Flag (HM King Felipe VI of Spain)

With the exception of the President of Ireland (which is based a banner of the government arms, in turn a symbol of Irish Kingship) none of these are heraldic banners, and all are flags of office.

Many personal flags represent the person rather than the office, a lot of these are heraldic banners of their coat of arms. Perhaps the most recognised personal heraldic banner is that of the Monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. 
 File:Royal Standard of the United Kingdom.svg
HM Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
 (Royal Standard used in England, N.Ireland, Wales and overseas)
This flag is a banner of the royal coat of arms with the quarters divided up to represent the Royal arms of the three historic kingdoms that became the United Kingdom. (England, Scotland and Ireland, Wales was seen as part of England). This brings us to a new chapter, and a person might have more than one coat of arms so therefore more than one flag, for example the above flag is not used in Scotland. The first and fourth quarters have the royal arms of England, but in Scotland the first and fourth quarters have the Scottish lion Rampant. 
File:Royal Standard of the United Kingdom in Scotland.svg
HM Queen Elizabeth of Scots, Monarch of United Kingdom
(Royal Standard used in Scotland)
Of course this is only a slight change in the arms depicted in the flag. As the Monarch of the United Kingdom is also monarch in various Commonwealth nations many of them have their own Royal  flags, These are mostly a banner of the nations Royal Arms with a blue disc containing a wreath of gold roses encircling the crowned letter 'E', (for 'Elizabeth' the current monarch), superimposed upon it. For example the Royal Banner of Australia 
File:Royal Standard of Australia (31-22 aspect).svg
Standard of HM Queen Elizabeth II of Australia 
Variations of heraldic banners can also exist for the holders spouse. Again using the example of British royalty, the personal flags of member of the Royal Family who are granted arms are usually a copy of the Roayl Arms with a white bar the some points on it usually between three or five, with or without a picture on them. For example this is the personal standard of the Duke of York. 
File:Royal Standard of Prince Andrew, Duke of York.svg
Standard of HRH Duke of York
Members of the Royal Family who have not been granted with their own unique flag are allowed to use a version of the Royal Banner but with an ermine border.Although this flag is not unique to any individual it is  a personal flag as it marks the presence of a person. while I'm using Royals as examples I might as well include it.
File:Royal Standard of members of the British Royal Family.svg
Standard used by other members of the UK Royal Family 

Of course all these royal flags have one thing in common and that is they are in one form or another heraldic banners of a coat of arms. A personal flag does not need to be a banner of arms but can be any design that the individual wants (providing no legal or copyright issues surround the design.) Once more I will uses the example of the Queen of the United Kingdom and Commonwealth Realms. The personal flag of the Queen has no real heraldry is a blue flag with a wreath of roses, and a crown and letter 'E' as is seen in the centre of the Australian Royal Standard already mentioned. This is used in the Queen's role as head of the Commonwealth rather than head of any state or country. It is also used in Commonwealth countries where she is not monarch or head of state, and sometime in Commonwealth Realms that have no individual Royal Standard although the UK Royal Standard may also be used in the last case. 
Personal Flag of HM Queen Elizabeth II of the Commonwealth of Nations 

But you don't have to be a world leader, Senior military officer of State official to have your own flag. Many ordinary people have their own flag. For example here is the flag of the president of the Flags of the World Website. It is based on the FOTW flag but with  a yellow border all around and small yellow border.

The personal flag of the former president is:

Name: Giuseppe Bottasini 
Country: Italy
Description: As the former president of FOTW he used this flag in the role of president. It is based on the FOTW flag with the yellow boarders and his initials 'GB' in the canton. As the new President flag is now rectangular and without the initials he continues to use this as his personal flag. 

Here are the personal flags of some other 'ordinary' people:

Name: Leonardo Piccioni                                  
Country: Brazil 
Description: I am using the flag of my friend from the Flags Forum, Leonardo first. His flag is a simple golden cross moline on a blue background. It has only one clear meaning as he thinks it is the most beautiful flag he could personally use. The cross also represents Christianity, the blue field is his favourite colour, he sees the gold in the cross as respectful. This is the flag used in less formal occasions, the formal flag is a heraldic banner of arms, you can see here.

Name: Paul James
Country: United Kingdom
Description: This flag a banner of the personal arms devised by Paul James. The colours are present in the flags of the three countries he has lived in (UK, USA and Canada). The blue and white bend represents the ocean separating the two continents, which he has crossed numerous times. A cinquefoil (not in these precise colours) appears in the arms of his home city , where he went to university and where his parents met. It also represents the fact that he is one of five children.
the blazon is: be Per bend Argent and Gules, a bend per pend Azure and the First between two cinquefoils pierced counterchanged.

Name: Samuel McKittrick
Country: United Kingdom
Description: based on my coat of arms. The gold lion rampant on black field is from the traditional ancient McKittrick coat of arms. The boarder of flax flowers and thistles is for both uniqueness and representing past and present and cultural identity. The McKittricks came to Ulster the northern province of Ireland from Scotland in the plantations of the 17th Century. The Scottish thistle represents Scottish ancestry and heritage. The Flax Flower has been adopted as the flower of Northern Ireland and features in the NI Assembly logo,UK Supreme Court Badge and other logos, badges and even coins. So the flax flower represents a modern and forward looking Northern Ireland and my UK regional identity. The split crimson saltire is reflective of railway tracks, crimson is the colour of my home town. Blue is my favourite colour, but together it looks like a St Patrick's Saltire in combination with a St Andrew's Saltire, again a referance to heritage and identity.

Name: Jerbez
Country: Spain
Description: Jerbez's flag consists of a blue triangle  on a white triangle with three yellow stars. A white and yellow field are separated by two blue and yellow bars that go horizontally along the flag from the fly to the triangles where the point of the shape separates them going with one bar going to each corner of the hoist. Blue, white and yellow are the colours of the flag of his native archipelago the Canary Islands. The three stars represent his family, his wife and  two daughters.

Name: Meinsauer
Country: United States 
Description: A work in progrss that might change in the future. Meinsauer's flag features a Native American arrowhead pointing down, edged in black. On the Upper blue field is a Jerusalem Cross, coloured copper, and partially obscured by three medium-green spruce trees rooted in the green lower field. The field is light grey.
The arrowhead represents the American West where he is from. The Jerusalem Cross represents both positive and negative roles religion has played in his life. The copper reflect to both his home town  (a producer of metal) and his profession (electrical engineer) The green fore-field and trees represent the Pacific Northwest is current residence, the blue sky represents optimism. The grey field is his colour of choice with no symbolism attached.

My Flag.jpg
Name: Vexilo
Country: United Kingdom
Description: This was conjured up as something of a stop gap because Vexilo didn't like having an empty flag icon in forum posts but had never really been able to come up with a design that might be sufficiently representative. Thinking a useful option might be something based on the flags of the two English counties Vexilo had lived in, Middlesex and Kent; as the two flags both feature white charges on a red field, this seemed quite sound. The arrangement of the symbols came immediately having received some positive reactions decided to stick with it.
Name: Grendelsbayne
Country: Netherlands (originally from WV, USA)
Description: The symbols and colours aren't based on any specific places , but simply on how Grendelsbayne's feels , with the main symbol being the river running uphill and in the canton a small disc (formless but also perfect) representing all the most important things in life, both now and in the future.

Name: M_L_Flags
Country: Netherlands
Description: This flag is based on his surname, "Luchtenberg" which translates as "Sky and Mountain." The yellow and white represent the mountains and the blue the air. The three stars represent his wife, son and himself.
Name: Patrick Ticman
Country: United States
Descrition: Like many personal flags, this flag comes from of a personal coat of arms. both the flag and coat of arms were designed in 1995. The two stars on the flag are a symbol of childhood, as he grew up in duplex home with two families, each being represented by a star. The blue represents peace and harmony, while the white denotes purity. The proportions of this flag are quite unusual. Mr Ticman's coat of arms are registered on the US Heraldic Registry, see here.

All flags are the intellectual and/or physical property of the said individual or individuals it represents, each flag has/may have its own rules and proctorial  If you have a personal flag and would like to display it on this page please leave a comment. All other comments also welcome

1 comment:

  1. Small correction: this is the Royal Standard of the ex-king of Spain, Juan Carlos I:

    While this is the Royal Standard of the Current King of Spain (as of August 2014) - Felipe VI: