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The flag of the United Kingdom, known as the Union Yack, is made up of three crosses. The upright red cross on a white background is the cross of St. George, the patron saint of England. The white diagonal cross on a blue background is the cross of St. Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland. The red diagonal cross on a white background is the cross of St. Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.

The Welsh flag, called the Welsh dragon, represents a red dragon on a white and green background.

St. George’s Day falls on 23 April and is regarded as England’s national day. On this day some patriotic Englishmen wear a rose pinned to their jackets. A red rose is the national emblem of England from the time of the Wars of the Roses (15th century).

St. Andrew’s Day (30 November) is regarded as Scotland’s national day. On this day some Scotsmen wear a thistle in their buttonhole as a national emblem of Scotland. Thistle apparently first was used in the 15th century as a symbol of defence. The Order of the Thistle is one of the highest orders of knighthood. It was founded in 1687, and is mainly given to Scottish noblemen (limited to 16 in number).

St. Patrick’s Day (17 March) is considered as a national day in Northern Ireland and an official bank holiday there. The national emblem of Ireland is shamrock. According to the legend, it was the plant chosen by St. Patrick to illustrate the Christian doctrine of the Trinity to the Irish.

St. David’s Day (1 March) is the church festival of St. David, a 16th-century monk and bishop, the patron saint of Wales. The day is regarded as the national holiday of Wales, although it is not an official bank holiday.

On this day, however, many Welshmen wear either a yellow daffodil or a leek pinned to their jackets, as both plants are traditionally regarded as national emblems of Wales.

In the Royal Arms three lions symbolize England, a lion rampant – Scotland, and a harp – Ireland. The whole is encircled with the Garter and is supported by a lion and a unicorn. The lion has been used as a symbol of national strength and of the British monarchy for many centuries. The unicorn, a mythical animal that looks like a horse with a long straight horn, has appeared on the Scottish and British royal coats of arms for many centuries, and is a symbol of purity.

(From Spotlight on Britain)

The Royal Arms

The first authentic English Royal Arms were born the Plantagenet kings in the twelfth century. The Queen’s Arms(of which a simplified form is illustrated in this pamphlet) are in heraldic terms: quarterly, first and fourth gules, three lions passant guardant in pale, or (England); second, or, a lion rampant within a double tressure flory counterflory gules (Scotland); and third, azure, a harp or, stringed argent (Ireland); the whole encircled with the Garter.

Crown.A circle of gold issuing therefrom four crosses patee and four fleurs-de-lis arranged alternately; from the crosses patee arise two golden arches ornamented with pearls, crossing at the top under a mound, surmounted by a cross patee, also gold, the whole enriched with precious stones. There is crimson velvet, turned up ermine.

Crest.Up the Royal helmet the crown proper, thereon statant guardant, a line royally crowned also proper.

Supporters. On the dexter, a lion rampant guardant, or crowned as the crest; and on the sinister, unicorn argent-armed, crined, and unguled, or gorged with a coronet composed of crosses patee and fleurs-de-lis, chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs reflex over the back of the last.

Motto. Dieu et mon Droit.


Date: 2015-12-11; view: 1059

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