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Belgium: Royal standard

Last modified: 2019-01-12 by ivan sache
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Standard of the King of the Belgians - Image by Michel Lupant, 20 April 2014

See also:

Philippe / Filip's Royal standard

On 21 June (the National Day) 2013, King of the Belgians Albert II (b. in 1934 as Albert Félix Humbert Théodore Christian Eugène Marie / Albert Felix Humbert Theodoor Christiaan Eug¸ne Marie; crowned on 9 August 1993) abdicated the throne for health reasons. He was succeeded by his son Philippe / Filip (b. in 1960 as Philippe Léopold Louis Marie / Filip(s) Leopold Lodewijk Maria), who ascended the throne the same day.

The Royal standard for use at sea is is 0.75 m x 0.75 m or 1.50 m x 1.50 m, depending on the size of the ship. There is a mistake in the official drawing sent by the Navy, a part of the crown appearing in white, while it should be yellow.
The car flag is slightly different. Queen Mathilde will not have a flag.

Michel Lupant, 22 April 2014

Coronation special flags


Coronation flag designed by the Belgian Alliance - Image from the party webshop, 22 July 2013

Different private "special" flags were produced for the coronation of Philippe / Filip.
The Belgian Alliance party designed a flag made of the Belgian tricolor with the profiles of Albert and Philippe, in red and yellow, respectively, in the black stripe. In the middle of the yellow stripe is placed a red shield surmounted by the Belgian crown and inscribed with "ALBERT II" / "FILIP", in white letters, separated by a thin yellow horizontal line, and, in base, the date of the event, "21-07-2013" in yellow numerals.

Wollux, a flag-maker from Mouscron, produced two serigraphied flags - that would probably not be called flags by purist vexillologists. As soon as the abdication of Albert II was announced, six people worked "all the night" to draft six proposals, of which two were eventually retained.
David Fournier, sales director at Wollux, said [L'Avenir, 5 July 2013]:

The first flag represents the king and the future king on a tricolour background, as well as the date of transfer of power. The second flag honours Philippe. On the two flags, we decided to use drawings of the sovereigns rather than photos. This is a kind of wink to cartoon industry, another national pride.

Royal standard of the former Kings of Belgium

Albert II


King Albert II's car flag - Image by Mario Fabretto, 25 February 2001

The Royal standard is red with the greater arms of Belgium in the middle and Albert II's cypher in each corner of the flag.
The colour of the standard's field should be rouge ponceau, but, according to Michel Lupant [lup98], "the colour actually used is close to the colour of the Order of Leopold's ribbon".
Album des Pavillons [pay00], as well as Michel Lupant, shows the "A" in the cypher as solid, whereas an older edition of Album des Pavillons [pie95] shows the "A" as voided.
On the flag used at sea, the cypher has number "II" between the downstrokes of letter "A". The car flag lacks the number.

Still according to Michel Lupant, HM the Queen Paola and HM the Queen Dowager Fabiola have a similar standard but with the open letter "P" and "F" in the cypher, respectively.

Željko Heimer, 25 February 2001

Léopold III / Leopold III

Flaggenbuch [neu92] shows Leopold's III standard as similar in design to Albert II's, but with letter "L" instead of "A" in the cypher. The cypher's height is 1/5 of the flag's side.
Queen Mother Elisabeth used the same standard with letter "E" in the cypher. Baudoin / Boudewijn, Duke of Brabant (later crowned King of the Belgians) used the same standard with letter "B" in the cypher. Chalres / Karel, Count of Flanders, used the same standard with letter "C" in the cypher.
The cyphers were much more elaborate than Albert II's very simple cypher.

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2001

Albert I

Flags of the United States and Other Countries [u9s38] shows a purple royal standard with shield on openwork gold frame and crowned royal cypher in each corner - apparently an "A" for Albert. This is similar to the current Royal standards, but with a more elaborate framework and more elaborate initials in the corners.

Joe McMillan, 25 February 2001

Royal standards shown in Legras' Album des Pavillons (1858)

[Flag]         [Flag]


Royal ensign, Royal pennant and Royal masthead pennant - Images by Željko Heimer, 8 July 2014

Legras [leg58] shows the Royal ensign as the Belgian tricolour flag with the coat of arms in the centre. The flag, 3 m x 4.5 m in size, shall be used on the mainmast of warships and yacht when the king is on board, surmounted by a Royal pennant, with the appropriate set of ensign/jack hoisted, and on bow of a boat carrying the monarch, surmounted by a Royal standard or pennant, with the national ensign at stern.
For the Queen and Royal Princes, the ensign shall be hoisted on the mainmast of warships or yachts when they are on board, topped with the Royal masthead pennant, and as above for boats.

The Royal pennant (guidon royal) is described as the national pennant (presumably, a swallow-tailed tricolour Belgian flag) with the coat of arms in the centre. When used without the above flag, when the King is on board, no honour is prescribed.

The Royal masthead pennant (flamme royale) is described as the national masthead pennant charged with the coat of arms in the centre of the yellow field. When the flag is used alone, for members of the Royal House on board, no honour is prescribed, either.

Roger Harmignies and Michel Lupant [h2l87] state that these Royal standards are imaginary. Legras was the most probable source for Royal standards shown in subsequent sources as the national flag with a black shield charged with a a yellow lion and crowned, with more or less elaborate supporters.

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Dubious reports of Royal standard
- Left, 1858 - Image by António Martins, 8 October 2008;
- Middle, 1862 & 1917 - Image by Željko Heimer, 25 February 2000;
- Right, 1896 - Image by Željko Heimer, 25 February 2000

"A chart of national flags", published in 1858 in New York, shows the shield supported by two lions standing on a scroll;
Colton's chart (1862 [clt62], reprinted in Znamierowski [zna99], shows a similar, complicated rendition of the coat of arms. The same flag is shown in National Geographic Magazine, October 1917 [gmc17], page 354 (fig. 734).
The chart published by F.E. Wright in 1896, reprinted in Znamierowski [zna99], shows the crowned lion shield without additions.

Željko Heimer, António Martins & Jan Mertens, 8 July 2014