The flag of Britain - the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland - is officially
called the Union Flag, because it embodies the emblems of the three countries under one Sovereign.
The emblems that appear on the Union Flag are the crosses of the three patron saints:
- the red cross of St George, for England, on a white ground
- the white diagonal cross or saltire of St Andrew, for Scotland, on a blue ground
- the red diagonal cross attributed to St Patrick, for Ireland, on a white ground
The first Union Flag, in 1606, combined the national flag of England - the cross of St George - and that of
Scotland - the cross of St Andrew. Wales is not represented in the Union Flag because when the
first version of the flag appeared Wales was already united with England.
|The cross of St George
||The cross of St Andrew
||The cross of St Patrick
The final version of the Union Flag appeared in 1801, following the union of Great Britain with
Ireland, with the inclusion of the cross of St Patrick.