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Wales (United Kingdom)


Last modified: 2023-07-03 by
Keywords: wales | dragon | cross: saint david | dewisant | y ddraig goch | pembroke | hay-on-wye |
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[Reported red ensign of Wales]

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A reported Welsh Red Ensign

The World Book Encyclopedia (Chicago, 1944) shows a flag for Wales that I have not seen before. It is a British Red Ensign with a white symbol on the fly, that looks like a three-headed club. Can anyone tell me what this flag is?
Roger Moyer, 11 August 1999

I wonder if these are the three feathers that the Prince of Wales uses today? Was this ever used a Welsh flag?
Rob Raeside, 12 August 1999

Strictly speaking, 'three white ostrich feathers enfiling a gold coronet and on a blue scroll the motto Ich Dien' is the badge of the heir apparent to the English throne. As heir apparent to the throne of the United Kingdom, the Prince of Wales has his own badge, the Welsh dragon. I very much doubt that a Red Ensign with the Prince of Wales's feathers has ever been used on a Welsh flag - the report above is probably a mistake. There are three yacht club ensigns of broadly similar appearance:

David Prothero, 13 August 1999

I wonder if it is a leek - one of the two Welsh plant badges (see the discussion between Henry and Fluellen in Shakespeare's Henry V). British heralds typically represent the leek with three long leaves issuing upward from the bulb, the right and left leaves sort of drooping over at the ends and the center leaf drooping forward (toward the observer). A leek would make sense since it's an accepted Welsh national symbol which the Prince of Wales's feathers are not.
Joseph McMillan, 13 August 1999

I think it's fairly clear what happened here: a Welsh symbol was inserted in the fly of a British ensign to meet the vexillologist's perceived need for a Welsh flag (Y Ddraig Goch had no official status until 1953). It reminds me of what happened in the case of the 'green ensign' that was attributed to Ireland in some foreign flag charts of the 19th century.
Vincent Morley, 14 August 1999

This flag was also reported from a poster dated 1943 - the image is identical to that shown in the 1944 Encyclopedia, and clearly one is the reproduction of the other.
Poster reported by Luismi Arias, 4 August 2001

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