Tour de France: Flags of the West

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The seven first stages of this year’s Tour de France are set in the West of France. Besides the blue-white-red French tricolour, two flags fly prominently along the route: the red and white flag of Vendée and the black and white flag of Brittany. 

In 2017, the Tour never came to western and northern France. In 2018, however, the Tour starts off in the West – le Grand Départ was on the island of Noirmoutier on the Atlantic coast on July 7 – and a total of ten out of twenty-one Tour stages are in the West and the North. Traditionally, the last stage of the Tour, which will be on July 29 this year, ends on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris.

Vendée

The first two stages of the 105th edition of the Tour de France were in the department of the Vendée in the western Pays de la Loire region. The third stage was the team time trial in Cholet, a town in the department of Maine-et-Loire.

Quite close to Vendée, but historically in the Duchy of Anjou, Cholet was the capital of la Vendée Militaire, a Royalist and Catholic uprising during the French Revolution in 1793. The Vendean forces used le Sacré-Coeur, the Sacred Heart of Jesus – a heart with a cross rising from it – as a symbol on their banners and on patches on their clothes.

Two hearts, intertwined and crowned, with a crosslet on top is known as a Coeur vendéen, a Vendean heart. This emblem, used in the region since the 13th Century, is the official logo of the Vendée today.

In 1944 a newly designed coat of arms for the department was officially recognised. It has a red Vendean heart on silver within a bordure of fleurs de lys, gold on blue, for France, and golden castles with three towers on red, for Poitou, the historical French province to which Vendée once belonged.

The modern departmental flag of the Vendée is a red-white vertical bicolour with an asymmetric version of the Vendean heart in the middle. This logo was designed by French designer Michel Disle and adopted by the departmental assembly on 18 September 1989.

Brittany

Stage 4-6 of the 2018 Tour de France are all in the region of Brittany or in areas of western France which was part of that region historically. Stage 7 will begin in Fougères in Brittany and end in Chartres in the Central Region of France on July 13.

The flag of Brittany was designed in 1923 by the Breton separatist politician Morvan Marchal. Its name in Breton, a Celtic language unrelated to French, is Gwenn-ha-du meaning “the white and black”. Today, the flag of Brittany is no longer seen as a sign of Breton nationalism, but rather as a symbol of Brittany and Bretons worldwide.

The Gwenn-ha-du has nine horizontal stripes of white and black representing the nine original dioceses of Brittany: five French speaking and four Breton speaking. Today, less than 5 % of the population in Brittany speak Breton.

In the upper inner corner of the flag there is a canton of ermine. In heraldry, ermine is not a colour or a metal, but a fur: on a white background the black-tipped tails of the stout. From 1316 the coat of arms of the Dukes of Brittany was a shield of ermine. So, for more than seven hundred years ermine has been connected to the region, and from beer bottles to policemen’s uniforms white and black ermine signifies all things Breton.

 

Read also: Tour de France: A Festival of Regional Flags and The Regional Flags of the 2017 Tour de France.

 

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This Boy Got A Camel Through the Eye of a Needle

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FIFA 2018 is nearing the quarter-finals. During the group stage 9 days ago, a Russian newspaper told the story of a boy and his family who almost got in trouble because of the flag of their home town. Stadium security guards check every flag and banner at the World Cup in the search of “materials of extremist, offensive or discriminatory nature”. 

The Martynenko family from Chelyabinsk had tickets for the Germany-Sweden match on June 23 at the Olympic Stadium in Sochi. With them the family had brought their city flag and the Russian national tricolour with the inscription Chelyabinsk. At the entrance to the stadium the family was stopped and questioned because of the city flag that none of the guards recognized.

“Their job is to look for propaganda of prohibited, extremist organizations, and insulting inscriptions. Our flag with a camel was nearly taken away,” Yevgeny Martynenko told Komsomolskaya Pravda, a Russian tabloid newspaper.

The guards summoned an expert who also did not know the camel and its connection to Chelyabinsk. “I had to use the internet to prove it to them,” Yevgeny Martynenko explained.

Chelyabinsk is a city with approximately 1 million inhabitants just to east of the Ural Mountains, the border between Asia and Europe. The city’s coat of arms and banner depict a golden camel in front of a silver crenellated wall. The camel, which also appears in the arms of Chelyabinsk Oblast, represents the old trading routes passing through the area from Central Russia and the Volga Region to the steppes, Siberia and China.

Russia is the host of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Russian authorities and stadium security personel do their best to keep controversial flags and banners away from no less than 64 football matches played in 12 stadiums over four and a half weeks.

According to the Stadium Code of Conduct for the World Cup in Russia, all flags with Nazi symbols and attributes of extremist organisations are prohibited as well as any flag which discriminates against a country or person or group “based on race, colour of skin, ethnic, national or social background and wealth, birth or any other status, gender, disability, language, religion, political opinion or any other opinion, sexual orientation or on any other grounds”.

Under such rules almost all flags that are not the national flags of the 32 qualified countries can be prohibited, and so far all Russian and foreign flags with extreme nationalist, separatist, religious and right or left wing ideological messages have been kept well out of view of the television cameras.

International visitors to the World Cup have had similar experiences as the Martynenkos from Chelyabinsk when guards have been unwilling to let in regional and county flags wrongly deemed to be sectarian or carrying controversial political messages. For example, read the story of England fan Daniel Henery here.

Yevgeny Martynenko and his family were let in to watch the match between Sweden and Germany in Sochi, and his son Semyon proudly carried their city flag in the stadium and afterwards. Back home in Chelyabinsk he will now wave the flag with the camel in front of the TV to support the Russian team in the knockout stage.

Princess Elisabeth of Denmark dies at 83

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The Danish “Royal House Flag” covered the coffin of Princess Elisabeth of Denmark at her funeral in Kongens Lyngby on Monday. This flag was introduced in 1905 for members of the Danish Royal Family who do not have their own personal flag. Princess Elisabeth was a first cousin of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark.

Princess Elisabeth was No. 12 in the line of succession to the Danish throne at the time of her death. On Tuesday 19 June 2018 she died peacefully in her home town of Kongens Lyngby north of Copenhagen. The funeral service took place on Monday 25 June in the parish church of Kongens Lyngby.

The Princess was born on 8 May 1935 in Copenhagen as the eldest grandchild of Christian X, King of Denmark and Iceland, and Queen Alexandrine. Elisabeth was the daughter of the King Christian’s younger son Prince Knud and his wife Princess Caroline-Mathilde. Elisabeth’s parents were first cousins as her paternal grandfather King Christian X and her maternal grandfather Prince Harald were brothers.

In 1953 when the Danish Law of Succession was changed for women to be able to inherit the throne, on the condition that they had no brothers, Princess Elisabeth became the seventh in line to the throne. Her father went from being first in line to being No. 4. His brother King Frederik IX had only daughters, so during the first five years of his reign Prince Knud as his closest male relative was the heir to the Danish throne.

The funeral service of Princess Elisabeth was attended by her only surviving brother Ingolf, Count of Rosenborg, formerly Prince of Denmark, and her first cousins Queen Margrethe of Denmark, Princess Benedikte of Denmark and Queen Anne-Marie of Greece. A wreath from Queen Margrethe prominently placed in the church had the name “Daisy” on a red-white ribbon; Queen Margrethe is known by that name among her closest friends and family.

Princess Elisabeth never married and had no children. From 1956 till 2001 she worked for the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She was awarded the Royal Medal of Merit in Silver after 40 years of service. The medal together with the collar and badge of the Order of the Elephant decorated a pillow which was placed on her coffin.

As a member of the Danish Royal Family, Princess Elisabeth was entitled to use a version of the Dannebrog with swallow-tails and a royal crown in the middle of the cross. Since 1905 this has been the distinguishing flag for “other members” of the Royal House i.e. those who do not have their own personal flag, like the King, the Queen, the Crown Prince and the Regent (who acts as head of state when the monarch is absent or incapacitated).

The Longest Day of the Year Is the National Day of Greenland

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In Nuuk, the capital of Greenland, 240 km south of the Arctic Circle, the sun is in the sky for 21 hours at summer solstice on June 21. The longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere is Greenland’s national day. Since 2016, this date is also an official flag day in all parts of the Kingdom of Denmark.

The flag of Greenland was designed by Thue Lynge Christiansen in 1985. Its name in Greenlandic, Erfalasorput, means ‘our flag’. Its design and colours symbolize the sun and the ice. Most of Greenland, the world’s largest non-continental island, is covered in ice and the average temperature in Nuuk at the height of summer is 8 °C. June 21, the day with the most sunlight, has been the national day of Greenland since 1983. 

Thue Christiansen, who has worked as a teacher, an artist and a politician, was Greenland’s first Minister for Culture and Education after the country was given Home Rule in 1979. He wanted the red and white colours of his flag to represent the close ties between Greenland and Denmark. Until 1985 Dannebrog, the flag of Denmark, was the only flag in Greenland. Christiansen’s Greenlandic flag was hoisted officially for the first time on the national day, June 21, in 1985.

In March 2016 new flag rules were issued by the government of Denmark: All Danish government agencies and state institutions (except for the Armed Forces) are required to fly the Greenlandic flag, Erfalasorput, on June 21 and the Faroese flag, Merkið, on July 29. Greenland, the Faroe Islands and Denmark are the three nations which make up the Kingdom of Denmark. Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen explained at the time that he wanted to strengthen relations between the three countries.

So, for the third time, Greenlandic flags will be hoisted on all state buildings in Denmark, Greenland and the Faroe Islands and on Danish embassies around the world. Busy Copenhageners passing the Danish parliament, ministries or other government offices on their way to work this morning will notice that the Danish state flag has been replaced by the flag of Greenland. June 21 is the day when many Danes are reminded what the Greenlandic flag looks like. Happy national day, Greenland!

Read more about the new Danish flag rules. Read also about the alternative proposal in 1985 that could have become the flag of Greenland.

Happy International Heraldry Day!

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Any flag based directly on a coat of arms is a heraldic banner, or banner of arms. Hundreds of regional, provincial, cantonal and municipal flags, mostly in Europe, are heraldic banners. National flags that are also banners of the national arms are more rare. Celebrating International Heraldry Day, here are a few of the flags bridging the worlds of heraldry and vexillology.  

National flags:

In the first row you can se a number of national flags which are all heraldic banners. The flags of Austria (1), Switzerland (2) and Kiribati (5) are among the few national flags in the world based directly on a country’s national coat of arms. The banner of arms of Luxembourg (3) is widely used as civil flag and ensign in the Grand-Duchy. In Lithuania the banner of the Vytis (the traditional Lithuanian coat of arms) is used as state flag and naval jack (4).

In the second row is the Royal Banner of Scotland. Historically and legally, this is the personal standard of the Scottish sovereign. Today, it is in widespread use by Scots as an alternative to the blue and white Scottish flag, also known as the Saint Andrew’s Saltire.

Regional and provincial flags:

The flag of the Belgian region of Flanders, De Vlaamse Leeuw (the Flemish lion, in Dutch), is a heraldic banner of the coat of arms of the medieval Counts of Flanders, important rulers in the medieval Low Countries. In heraldic terms these arms are: Or, a lion rampant armed and langued Gules.

The four provinces of Ireland all have flags which are banners of the provincial arms. The flag of Leinster is green with an Irish harp (properly blazoned: Vert, a harp Or stringed Argent). The flag of Connaught is rather more complicated (per pale Argent and Azure, in the first an eagle dimidiated and displayed Sable, in the second issuant from the partition an arm embowed and vested, the hand holding a sword erect, all Argent).

Swiss cantonal flags:

In 23 of the 26 cantons of Switzerland the cantonal flags are heraldic banners in the strictest sense in that the flags depict the cantonal arms without modification. Beginning in the second row with the green flag with white fasces of St. Gallen and the white-blue-white stripes of Zug, flags of seven cantons are in the third row: Zürich, Thurgau, Aargau, Bern, Geneva, Schaffhausen and Fribourg.

Municipal and city flags:

A horizontal bicolour of black and white (per fess Sable and Argent) is also the flag of the city of Ferrera in the Italian region of Emilia-Romagna. In the fourth row are the flags of another Emilian city, Parma, the Tuscan cities of Pisa and Florence as well as the city of Verona in the Veneto region. All these flags are heraldic banners of the cities’ municipal coats of arms.

In Italy it is quite normal for cities to have municipal flags which are also banners of arms. In Germany it is not. In Hamburg, however, the city and state flag (as the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg is one of Germany’s 16 federal states) is the same as the city’s coat of arms.

Read more about why June 10 is the International Heraldry Day here.

Seattle Introduces Rainbow Flag With Eleven Stripes

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On June 1, 2018 a new Rainbow Flag was raised over City Hall in Seattle, Washington. It adds the three colors from the Transgender Pride Flag to the six colors of the iconic LGBT Pride Flag and the two new colors introduced a year ago in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Last year, on June 8, 2017 an eight-color Rainbow Flag was raised in the City of Brotherly Love to raise awareness about people of color within the LGBT community. Above the traditional colors of the rainbow – red, orange, yellow, green, blue and violet – two new colors were added: black and brown.

Read more about the eight-color Philadelphia Pride Flag here.

The three new stripes in Seattle’s Rainbow Flag are powder blue, baby pink and white. These colors also feature in the Transgender Pride Flag designed by Monica Helms in 1999. Light blue and light pink are the traditional colors for baby boys and baby girls. According to Helms, the white color represents “those who are intersex, transitioning, or consider themselves having a neutral or undefined gender.”

I do not know if Monica Helms was consulted about including elements of her flag design into the new Rainbow Flag in Seattle. In 2014 she said that she felt the Rainbow Flag, originally designed by Gilbert Baker in 1978, “is the LGBTQ flag for everybody, and each individual group can have their own flag for their own individuality.”

Read more about the Transgender Pride Flag and its designer here.

The Seattle LGBTQ Commission together with other organizers explain the colors of the new Rainbow Flag: “The pink, light blue and white stripes represent trans, gender non-binary, intersex and folks across the gender spectrum.” 

The eleven-color flag was raised for the first time on Friday to mark the LGBTQ Pride Month in Seattle by Jenny Durkan, the city’s first openly lesbian mayor. In her speech she acknowledged the “colors of our black and brown brothers and sisters” as well as “the trans colors”. She said: “Our rainbow is even more beautiful than before”.

Read the news story about the new Rainbow Flag in Seattle here.

Just as the Philadelphia Pride Flag did last year, the new Seattle Pride Flag is sure to cause debate within the LGBT community and among flag experts and enthusiasts.

Some will argue that the 40-year-old six-color Rainbow Flag, a well branded and easily recognizable flag design, is and has always been a symbol of diversity and inclusion, in the same way as the rainbow contains a wide spectrum of colors. Others will argue that adding more colors is not only possible, but also necessary for raising awareness about groups of people within the LGBTI/queer community who are too often forgotten about, left out or discriminated against.

Read more about Gilbert Baker’s iconic Rainbow Flag from 1978 here.

For Those in Peril on the Sea: 150 Years of the Hanseatic Cross

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The flag of the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service was adopted on 23 May 1868. This NGO, one of Germany’s oldest, has been saving lives for 153 years. The Hanseatic Cross which is in the organisation’s flag and on its ships and boats combines Prussian and Hanseatic symbolism. 

Along Germany’s North Sea and Baltic Sea coastline, the German Maritime Search and Rescue Service presently organizes 180 employees and 800 volunteers. 24 hours a day and in all weather conditions, they man 54 stations and 60 search and rescue vessels. “We go out when others come in” is the motto of this important NGO.

The German Maritime Search and Rescue Service (in German, Deutsche Gesellschaft zur Rettung Schiffbrüchiger, DGzRS) was established when several smaller organisations were amalgamated in 1865. Three years later, the North German Confederation – the Prussian-led predecessor of the second German Empire – decided on a flag for DGzRS vessels: a red Hanseatic Cross in a white field with a thin black border.

The Hanseatic Cross (in German, Hansekreuz) is similar to the Iron Cross used by the Prussian and the German military since the Napoleonic Wars, but it is red and white, the traditional colours of the Hanseatic League. Both the flag of the DGzRS and the national flag of the North German Federation (1866-1871) and the German Empire (1871-1918) combine the red and white of the Hanseatic cities and the black and white of the Kingdom of Prussia.

Since 1865 more than 84,000 persons have been rescued by the crews of the DGzRS. In 2015 the organisation celebrated its 150th birthday. Three years on, today marks the 150-year anniversary of the organisation’s iconic flag with the red-white Hansekreuz.

The Banner of Stockholm

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May 18 is Saint Eric’s Day. The Swedish King Erik Jedvardsson, stabbed and beheaded on Ascension Thursday 1160, is the patron saint of Sweden and its capital city. In the 14th Century Saint Eric’s head first appeared on the seal of Stockholm. Today it features on the city’s blue-yellow flag.

The flag of Stockholm, capital of Sweden, is a heraldic banner of the city’s arms: In a blue field the golden head of Saint Eric en face crowned with a golden royal crown. The oldest known seal of the city with Saint Eric’s head is from 1376. In the 20th Century it became common for the City of Stockholm to use its armorial bearings in flag form. The city flag flies in front of the city hall, Stockholms stadshus, for example.

Wether or not Erik Jedvardsson was a particularly holy man we will never know. No contemporary sources from his lifetime have survived. However, after his violent death, legends were told about him and, in the following years where two rival dynasties fought for the Swedish crown, his family promoted Erik as a martyr of the faith and a crusader king.

Although never officially canonized by the Catholic Church, Saint Eric (in Swedish known as Erik den helige, or Erik IX) is recognized as the patron saint of Sweden and Stockholm. His remains are kept in a beautiful reliquary in Uppsala Cathedral, the archiepiscopal seat of the head of what is today the protestant Church of Sweden.

Saint Eric’s feast day, May 18, was celebrated in medieval times and also sometime after the protestant reformation of Sweden in the 16th Century. Today, May 18 is the name day for anyone named Erik. Name days play a role similar to birth days for Swedes. The tradition of celebrating a person’s name day is totally unknown in my home country of Denmark. 

Another difference between Sweden and Denmark is the use of heraldic banners as municipal flags. The flags of Sweden’s largest cities, Stockholm, Gothenburg and Malmö, are all banners with city arms. In comparison, Denmark’s capital city of Copenhagen has no city flag at all, and it seams to me that Danish municipal authorities are entirely unaware of the concept of heraldic banners.

So today, on Saint Eric’s Day, I salute the beautiful blue-yellow banner of Stockholm.

Papal Heraldic Expert Wanted To Change The Vatican Flag

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Archbishop Bruno Bernard Heim designed the coats of arms of four popes from John XXIII to John Paul II. For half a century he was the Catholic Church’s leading heraldic author and artist. In 1978 he presented an alternative design for the papal flag. His proposal was superior, he argued, both aesthetically and heraldically. 

The alternative papal flag proposed by Archbishop Heim differs from the official version in two ways: it is not square, but has an aspect ratio of 2:3, and it has the papal insignia in a red shield in the middle. The papal insignia are the crossed keys of Saint Peter crowned by the papal tiara.

The official papal flag is a square vertical bicolour of yellow and white with the papal insignia in the white field. This flag was first used in the Papal States in the 1800s. In 1929 the Vatican, a small area around Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome, became the world’s smallest independant country when the Papacy signed the Lateran Treaty with Italy. Since then, the papal flag is the flag of both the Vatican City State and the Holy See as the governing body of the universal Catholic Church.

Bruno Bernard Heim (1911-2003) was born i Switzerland and became a Doctor of Philosophy and a Doctor of Canon Law. In 1938 he was ordained a priest and in 1947 he started a 38-year career as a papal diplomat. From 1973 til 1985 he served as Apostolic Delegate and Apostolic Pro-Nuncio of the Holy See in the UK.

Archbishop Heim criticized the papal flag in his book on ecclesiastical heraldry, Heraldry in the Catholic Church – Its Origin, Customs and Laws, published in 1978.

As an expert on heraldry it is not surprising that he used heraldic terminology and made reference to the so-called rule of tincture (metal should not be put on metal, colour should not be put on colour). In heraldry, gold/yellow and silver/white are categorized as metals, not as colours. Heim was unhappy with the fact that the gold and silver keys are in the white (or silver) field of the flag:

“Whoever did this first must have been totally lacking in heraldic and aesthetic feeling. On a coloured ground, the gold and silver papal insignia stand out as they should; on a white background the silver is lost.”

In the book Archbishop Heim described how the papal flag ought to be:

“The Papal Flag is gold and silver, gold being next to the staff on the heraldic right (dexter). The emblems of the Papacy being also gold and silver, the obvious and correct thing to do from the heraldic and aesthetic point of view, and for the sake of clarity, (so absolutely essential in heraldry), is to put the arms of the Papacy, the red shield with the tiara and keys, in the middle of the flag.”

Was he right? It is worth pointing out that a flag design should not be judged on its adherence to heraldic rules per se. The vexillologist knows that designing a good flag cannot be as tightly bound by rules as in the art of heraldry. He or she is also aware that the liberty to style and restyle afforded to heraldic artists would never work in the world of flags; usually the shape, design and colouring of a national flag is strictly defined and should not be changed by individual graphic artists and flag makers.

One of the reasons why Heim’s alternative papal flag remained a proposal, I think, is because the official version of the yellow-white bicolour is sufficiently distinct from other national flags and easily recognizable in different kinds of use. Thus, there is no pressing need for a new papal flag with the arms of the Papacy in the middle.

New Swiss Guard Recruits Swear To Serve And Protect The Pope

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On May 6 every year, new recruits in the Pontifical Swiss Guard take the oath of loyalty in the Vatican City State. Soldiers and officers with Swiss citizenship have protected the Pope for more than 500 years. The Guard’s banner reflect the history of this Swiss corps in the service of the Pope as head of state and head of the Roman Catholic Church. 

The Pontifical Swiss Guard consists of between 100 and 200 men, all recruited among Catholic, unmarried, Swiss citizens. Since the middle ages, soldiers from Switzerland have served with distinction in the armed forces of other nations. The most famous of such Swiss contingents in the service of foreign heads of state is the Pontifical Swiss Guard in Rome. 

Traditionally, May 6 is the day for the swearing-in because, in 1527, the Sack of Rome by the mutinous Spanish and Imperial troops of Emperor Charles V happened on that date. Of the 189 men strong Pontifical Swiss Guard 147 died in the close vicinity of Saint Peter’s Basilica defending Pope Clement VII’s escape to the Castel Sant’Angelo.

The solemn occasion of the swearing-in usually takes place in the Saint Damaso Courtyard at the centre of the Apostolic Palace. However, in case of bad weather, the ceremony has been held indoors in the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall. That happened in 2010 and 2013 for example.

The Pontifical Swiss Guard is dressed in 16th Century dress, plate armour, morion helmets and is armed with halberds and smallswords. The main part of the ceremony is when all new halberdiers of the Guard take the oath of loyalty, fidelity and obedience to the Pope and the Commanding Captain. 

One by one, the recruits are called forward. Each takes hold of the Guard’s banner with his left hand and confirms the oath which has been read by the Guard’s chaplain. At the same time, each raises his right hand pointing three fingers upwards as a symbol of the Holy Trinity. The halberdiers take the oath in any of the official languages of Switzerland, most of them in German and French.

The banner of the Pontifical Swiss Guard

The banner of the Guard plays an important role when the halberdiers take the oath of loyalty to the Pope and the Commanding Captain. On it are the personal coats of arms of both. Thus, the banner must be redesigned and renewed every time there is a new pope as well as every time a new Swiss Guard officer is appointed as Commanding Captain.

The banner is a large, square standard; a white cross divides it in four quarters. In the first, on red, are the arms of the present pope, Francis, adopted in 2013. In the fourth, also on red, are the arms of Julius II. He was of the della Rovere family and when he became pope in 1503 he established the first constant corps of Swiss mercenaries at the papal court. Note the papal tiara in the arms of Pope Julius II and the bishop’s mitre in the arms of Pope Francis. 

In the second and third quarter are the red, blue and golden stripes, the colours also seen in the renaissance style dress uniform of the Pontifical Swiss Guard.

In the middle of the white cross are the coat of arms of the Commanding Captain. The present Commanding Captain is colonel Christoph Graf. He was born in Pfaffnau in the Swiss canton of Lucerne and joined the Guard in 1987. In 2015 he was appointed to his present role by Pope Francis.

The gold antler and the silver plowshare on red in his shield symbolize the traditions of hunting and farming in the Graf family of Pfaffnau. The coat of arms rest on a background of silver and blue. These colours represent the Commanding Captain’s home canton of Lucerne; the flag of Lucerne is a horisontal bicolour of white and blue.