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Belgium: Royal standard

Last modified: 2004-02-28 by
Keywords: belgium | lion (yellow) | royal standard | albert ii | crown: royal | coat of arms | cypher | albert i | leopold iii |
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[Belgian royal standard]by Mario Fabretto

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The royal standard

Above is shown the standard of His Majesty Albert II, King of the Belgian, son of the late Léopold III / Leopold III and younger brother of the late Baudouin I / Boudewijn I.

The colour of the standard field should be "rouge ponceau". Anyway, Lupant [lup98] says: 'but in fact the colour used is close to the colour of the Order of Leopold's ribbon'.

Album des Pavillons [pay00] as well as Lupant [lup98] show the cypher A as solid, whereas the former edition of Album des Pavillons [pay] showed the cypher A as open (as shown above).
The cypher should have number II between the downstrokes of the letter A. Howerer Lupant [lup98] explains that the royal flag for ship has the number, while the car flag lacks it. I guess that the number is omitted due to the size (it would be too small/dificult to draw it there).

Zeljko Heimer, 25 February 2001

Standards of the other members of the royal House

HM the Queen Paola's standard is the same as the royal standard but with cypher P (open letter).

HM the Queen Dowager Fabiola' standard has the cypher F (open cypher, too).

Source: M. Lupant [lup98]

The national flag on royal palaces

[Flag on palaces]by Ivan Sache

An unusual 4:3 Belgian flag is described by L. Nyssen in Vexillacta [vxl] #3, March 1999.
L. Nyssen and other careful flagspotters had noticed that the Belgian flags hoisted over the Royal palaces in Brussels and Laeken were higher than wider in proportion, and particularly large in size.
After more than three years of investigations (!), L. Nyssen finally received on 23 December 1998 a letter from the Commander of the Royal Palaces. Accordingly, the flag hoisted over the palace of Brussels is 4 x 3 m, whereas the one hoisted over the palace of Laeken is 3.2 x 2.4 m. Excluding those giant flags, the largest official Belgian flag has a 2.6 x 3 m size.

These flags are manufactured by the Logistic Service of the Army in the basis of Peutie, near Vilvorde/Vilvoorde.

The exaggeration of the dimensions of the flag is based on aesthetical considerations. Due to the size of the buildings on which they are hoisted, they are viewed from far below. The statues of the gothic cathedrals and several huge monuments follow the same 'artistic' rules. Therefore, the above image seems rather strange, but the picture of the palace of Brussels shown in Vexillacta seems very normal.

A note by Pascal Parent published in Vexillacta [vxl] #12 (June 2001) explains the rules for hoisting these flags.

The national Belgian flag shall be hoisted over the palaces of Brussels and Laeken when the King is present on the Belgian territory (but not necessarily present in one of the palaces).
The flag shall be removed only when the King has to go abroad for an official visit or summer vacation. In such instances, the flag shall be removed as soon as the King leaves the national territory and rehoisted as soon as he enters again the national territory.

Last year, following a heavy heart surgery, the King started his convalescence in the South of France. Since it was considered that he was still able to assume all his powers, even if he was physically not present on the Belgian territory, the flags were not removed from the palaces.

Ivan Sache, 20 August 2000 & 18 July 2001

Leopold III's standard (1934-1951)

Leopold's III standard was similar in design to Albert II's standard shown above, but with a L monogramm instead of a A.
Height of the monogramm was one fifth of the flag height.

The Queen-Mother used the same standard with a E (Elisabeth) monogramm.
The Duke of Brabant used the same standard with a B (Balduin, later king of Belgians.)
The Count of Flanders used the same standard with a C (Carl).

The monogramms were much more complicated than Albert II's very simple A.

Source: Flaggenbuch [neu92]

Ivan Sache, 3 March 2001

Albert I's standard (1909-1934)

Flags of the United States and Other Countries [usn38] shows a purple royal standard with shield on openwork gold frame and crowned royal monogram in each corner--apparently an A for Albert. This is similar to the current royal standars, but with a more elaborate framework and more elaborate initials in the corners.

Joe McMillan, 25 February 2001

The royal standard in ancient sources

[Royal standard 1896?]by Zeljko Heimer

This is the royal standard as shown in an American chart published by F.E. Wright in 1896, and reprinted in Znamierowski [zna99], p. 6. The standard is 2:3 national flag defaced with a crowned lion shield.
The image above is a reconstruction with the details that are used in modern representation of the arms, but the shield on the chart is rather blotty and have hardly any visible detail.

The relability of those charts is often questionably, and so it is easy to doubt the use of such flag, especially in a light of the next one.

[Royal standard, 1862?]by Zeljko Heimer

This is the royal standard as shown in 1862 Colton's chart Delineation of Flags of All Nations (reprinted in Znamierowski [zna99], p. 6) is similar - national tricolour with a more complete coat of arms - containing shield, crown, supporters and a ribbon with the motto.
The same flag is shown in the National Geographic Magazine, October 1917 [gmc17], page 354 (fig. 734). It is there captioned 'Belgium Ensign', but from the accompanying text it is clear that it is in fact a royal standard.

Zeljko Heimer, 25 February 2000

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