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British Royal Standards, Queen Victoria 1837-1901

House of Hanover

Last modified: 2019-05-15 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal standard | house of hanover | victoria | queen victoria | albert |
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[British royal standard] image by Martin Grieve, 2 April 2007

based on illustrations in F.E. Hulme's 'Flags of the World' c1895 and Benjamin Edgington's Empire Calendar c1898

See also:

Victoria (1837-1901)

Victoria could not ascend to the throne of Hanover, as a woman cannot inherit the throne under Salic law, therefore the arms of Hanover were removed from the Royal Standard. This results in the current Royal standard of quartered England, Scotland and Ireland. [usually seen 1:2, rarely 2:3]

Most sources show 6 fleur-de-lys on the tressure flory-counter-flory, although I've just seen one such standard flying in footage on a CD-ROM from a British Tourist Bureau, and it had 8 fleur-de-lys. For details of the standards used by members of these families, see our page on the Royal Family, and other members of the Royal Family.
Peter Hans van der Muijzenberg
, 23 April 2002

At the end of the 19th century the only member of the Royal Family with a distinctive Standard was Edward, Prince of Wales. The undifferenced Royal Standard was used by not only Queen Victoria, but also by other members of the Royal Family, was hoisted at military parades celebrating the Sovereign's Birthday, and flown on official buildings throughout the Empire on the Anniversaries of the Sovereign's Birthday, Coronation and Accession. It was also flown on government buildings when the Sovereign was passing in State, and by private individuals and organisations who thought that it was an appropriate way of displaying their loyalty to the crown.

The propriety of flying the Royal Standard became an issue when preparations for the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the Queen's accession were planed in 1897. Those who asked the Home Office for permission to fly the Royal Standard, were told that only Her Majesty, members of the Royal Family and certain Public Departments were entitled to fly the Royal Standard, but no action was taken against those who flew it without requesting permission.
David Prothero, 11 April 2007

Death of Queen Victoria

When Queen Victoria died at Osbourne (on the Isle of Wight) in 1901, her body, accompanied by her eldest son (now King Edward VII), was loaded aboard the HMY Alberta for carriage to the mainland. The Royal Standard was at half mast, and when asked why by Edward, was told (my a somewhat shocked Captain) that Her Majesty was dead – “but” replied Edward “The King is alive, so raise it up”.
Christopher Southworth, 8 May 2017

From The Last Days of Glory: The Death of Queen Victoria - Tony Rennell has it that the Alberta had the Royal Standard at half-mast, while the Victoria and Albert had it at full-mast. This would be correct, of course, as it was only the Victoria and Albert that carried the King, while the Alberta mourned the death of the queen.

Bertie: A Life of Edward VII - Jane Ridley has it that indeed the King was accompanying his mother's body. He did so, however, on his own yacht, HMY Victoria and Albert. According to her, it was there that this little sketch played out.

The situation might seem a bit curious, with people who work in the world of ceremony not knowing the correct protocol. However, it had been more than sixty years since a monarch of the United Kingdom had died. Before Queen Victoria, the Union had had three Kings, who died over a span of less than twenty years. By then, everybody presumably knew the relevant protocol of that era.

At that time, the Royal Standard had been widely used, not just to represent the Monarch and others of the Royal family, but also by government and populace to honour them. During the Victorian age it had effectively become the personal symbol of the Queen and her family. Edward VII was considered rather strict where protocol was concerned and probably was even stricter in his grief. It's no wonder that he now insisted that the flag that had represented the Queen for so long was not only not a fan flag, but was not even the banner of a monarch. Hence his correction that it was rather to be treated as the banner of the Crown.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 28 April 2019

Standard of Albert, Prince Consort 1857-1861

Albert, Duke of Saxony, Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha

[Prince Albert] image by Martin Grieve, 9 April 2007

based on Le Gras (1858)

Royal Standard differenced by a three point label charged with one cross of St George, quartered with the Standard of Saxony. The charge on the Arms of Saxony is a chaplet of rue that was added when Emperor Frederick Barbarossa confirmed the dukedom on Bernhard of Anhalt.

Queen Victoria married her cousin, Francis Albert, Duke of Saxony, and Prince of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in 1840, but he was not granted the title Prince Consort until 1857, four years before he died.
David Prothero, 9 April 2007

Continued as House of Saxe-Coburg/Windsor