The national flag of Scotland, a white cross on a blue background also known as the Saltire, was first hoisted in 1512, making it one of the oldest flags in the world. But where did it come from?
According to tradition, the diagonal cross represents St Andrew, who was crucified on a cross of that shape.
However, a second theory behind its origins takes place over 700 years later, the night before King Angus led his forces into battle against an army of Angles and Saxons.
It’s said that King Angus had a vision of St Andrew and was promised victory. The next morning, his troops saw a huge white Saltire cross shining against a bright blew sky. This omen led the Scottish troops to triumph in battle.
Since the first illustration of the flag appeared in the 16th century, the shade of blue has seen various changes. Manufacturers produced the flag in darker shades during the 17th century, and argued about it until a Scottish Parliamentary committee decided to standardise the shade to Pantone 300 in 2003. That’s a pretty long argument…
There are actually two Scottish flags, but only the Saltire is recognised as official. The other is the Lion Rampant, which is referred to as the ‘Royal Flag of Scotland’.
This is because it historically and legally belongs to the monarchy – however, as Scotland hasn’t had a King or Queen since the 17th century, it now belongs to Queen Elizabeth II.
It’s an offence for any private citizen or corporate body to fly or wave the Lion Rampant, but you’ll generally see them at football and rugby games.