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Royal Standard (Spain)

Standard of H.M. the King, Estandarte de S.M. el Rey

Last modified: 2023-07-03 by eugene ipavec
Keywords: royal | king | coat of arms: quartered (castle: yellow) | coat of arms: quartered (lion: red) | cross: saltire (red) | cross: burgundy | order of the golden fleece |
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[Royal Standard (Spain)] 1:1
image by Luis Miguel Arias, 26 Feb 2004, exported to GIF by Santiago Dotor
Flag used unofficially since 22nd Nov 1975, adopted 21st Jan 1977

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Both the King's standard and the former one for the Heir Prince can be found in Calvo and Grávalos 1983 [cag83]. They are square flags, dark blue field with the coat-of-arms in the middle.

Santiago Dotor, 12 Nov 1998

The guión is a particular version – size 80 x 80 cm, gold fringed, nailed to a mast and carried nearby the king – of the standard or estandarte. Guión has a similar root to the English guidon. In Spanish, however, the term is reserved nowadays for the positional flag of a king or chief of state, even if in ancient times it was synonimous with the English meaning (nowadays cavalry and armoured units' flags are called estandartes).

Santiago Dotor, 21 Oct 1999

On his yachts, the King usually flies the normal yachting flag, that is the well known bicolour flag with a blue royal crown in the centre of it. Most time he flies the burgee of the local sailing club too (i.e. Palma de Mallorca). However, he may fly at the stern on special occasions the flag of the Spanish Sailing Federation, which is similar to the yacht flag. Until 1931, the King (i.e. Alfonso XIII, and before him his father Alfonso XII) always used at the stern on his royal sailing yacht Giralda the flag of the Spanish Federation of Nautical Clubs.

Emil Dreyer, 25 Jun 2000

The King's yachts, all named Fortuna, fly at the stern the ensign for recreational boats, and the royal standard at the boat's centre.

José Carlos Alegría, 25 Jun 2000

The 1971 and 1977 regulations make reference to two flags: the guión – which may be translated as 'guidon' in the medieval sense of 'flag which indicates the king's position' – and the estandarte or standard. (...) In my humble opinion, this is a mistaken and quite confusing approach. The guidon is defined in the first place, as a very specific flag – with fringe, fixed dimensions – 80cm square, coat-of-arms 44cm high, fringe 22mm wide – , a precise material, etc. – and only later is the standard defined as any flag which looks like the guidon without the fringe, within a certain range of sizes. I believe that the guidon is rather a specific case of the standard and as such should be defined in second place.

Similarly the coat-of-arms is only defined as a part of the flag – the same as the fringe, for instance – , instead of being defined as something separate, which the king shall use in many other cases – stationery, seals, tapestries etc.

Santiago Dotor, 20 Mar 2001

Why do the Phalange Party symbols remain in the royal flag and arms?

Jaume Ollé, 28 Feb 2004

They do not. The Yoke and the Arrows are the symbols of the Catholic Kings, Isabel of Castille and Fernando of Aragon.

Their meaning is that with that marriage (yoke = 2 together), Spain united all its territories (bundle of arrows), as well as "Y" being the initial of Queen Ysabel (in old Spanish) and the word yugo (Yoke), and "F" the initial of King Fernando and the word flechas ("arrows").

Jose C. Alegria Diaz, 02 Mar 2004


[Royal Coat-of-Arms (Spain)]
image by Luis Miguel Arias, 26 Feb 2004, exported to GIF by Santiago Dotor
Coat-of-arms used unofficially since 22nd Nov 1975, adopted 21st Jan 1977

The lion in the royal arms is not purpure, as in the national arms, but Gules (red). (...) François Velde says (cf. History of the Spanish Arms), "Juan Carlos uses as personal arms those of the last kings of Spain, Alfonso XII and Alfonso XIII, with the closed crown and the collar of the Golden Fleece". This not fully correct. The current royal arms have only the quarterings in the modern national arms and incorporate the Burgundian saltire (with several interpretations, one of which is to show that King John Charles joins both the official and the Carlist claims to the throne), the yoke and arrows of the Catholic Kings (Elisabeth and Ferdinand) and the Golden Fleece collar.

Santiago Dotor, 12 Nov 1998

It is strange that even though the yoke and arrows, as well as the Burgundy cross, were incorporated to the prince's (later king's) standard in 1971 as "symbols of the National Movement" (the name given to the single party of General Franco's regime), they have remained there after the transition to democracy.

Santiago Dotor, 31 Oct 2000

For some strange reason, the emerald is missing at the centre of the Navarrese arms on the royal standard, as described in the 1971 and 1977 decrees.

Santiago Dotor, 04 Sep 2001

Use by the Queen and the King's Children

According to a scarcely known regulation, the current Spanish royal standard may also be used as distinguishing flag of the Queen and the Infantas – the king's daughters:

EMACON 213-S/432/94, 8th April 1994

El Estandarte y Guión Real se definieron por R.D. 1511/77 de 21 de enero (D.O. nº 150) y el Reglamento que se aprueba por el anterior R.D. se publicó en el B.O.E. nº 156 (Título II).

El uso del estandarte Real estaba limitado hasta la fecha a indicar la presencia de S.M. el Rey.

Esto ha creado algunas incidencias cuando algún otro miembro de la Familia Real ha presidido un acto castrense o ha embarcado en una aeronave o unidad de la Armada, pues no se podía izar ninguna bandera que indicase Su presencia.

Despachado este asunto por el almirante Jefe del Cuarto Militar, S.M. el Rey y en base al uso que se hacía del Estandarte Real en otras épocas, ha dispuesto que en Su ausencia lo utilicen S.M. la Reina, S.A.R. el Príncipe de Asturias y SS.AA.RR. las Infantas, bien entendido que se trata de izar en un lugar destacado el Estandarte Real, no el hecho de que un Oficial acompañe a la Persona Real con un Guión Real, cuyo uso sólo corresponde a S.M. el Rey como Jefe supremo de las Fuerzas Armadas.

En los actos donde puedan darse estas circunstancias, se coordinarán los detalles de ejecución con el enlace del Gabinete del Cuarto Militar designado al efecto.

Lo que comunico a V.E. para su cumplimiento y difusión entre las Unidades, Centros y Organismos dependientes de su Autoridad.

EMACON stands for Estado Mayor Conjunto de la Defensa, Joint Defense Staff. The regulation also included the Prince of Asturias, but this has been superseded with the adoption of his own standard in March 2001. The regulation mentions that this was also done "in earlier times." However, the standard for the Infantes and Infantas until 1931 was a swallowtailed variant of the royal standard.

Luis Miguel Arias, translated by Santiago Dotor, 11 Sep 2002

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