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British Royal Flags: Diana, Princess of Wales

Last modified: 2011-06-10 by rob raeside
Keywords: royal standard | diana princess of wales |
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Members of the royal family without their own specific standards use the royal standard with a bordure of ermine. This was for instance used by the late Diana, Princess of Wales, as she was known after the break-up of her marriage.
Marcus Schmöger, 12 November 2001

However, the Baronage website describes a possible flag of Diana during the time she was married to Prince Charles:

"During the time of her marriage, Diana had the right to fly "a royal standard" ~ if we use that term loosely. Actually, it is a banner, illustrated here, featuring the arms of her husband impaling the arms of her father ("impaling" meaning that the husband's arms are in the hoist, i.e. next to the staff, and the wife's arms are in the fly). Her husband's arms are those of The Prince of Wales and feature what is essentially the Royal Standard differenced (or debruised) by a label of three points (whether that label is of white or silver is still a matter of argument) and in the centre by an escutcheon of the arms of the Principality of Wales ensigned by the coronet of the Sovereign's eldest son."
Mark Sensen, 27 April 2002

I believe the Baronage website is (at least on this occasion) wrong - that would be a banner of Diana's (real) arms.
Santiago Dotor, 29 April 2002, quoting an earlier discussion, viz:

She would have used the Other Member's standard, the one with an ermine border. If she had become Queen she would have had a flag with the Royal Arms at the hoist and her father's arms at the fly (the Arms of the Earl Spencer), in the same way as HM The Queen Mother does (in her case the arms in the fly are those of her father, the Earl of Strathmore, head of the Bowes-Lyon family). Before Princess Elizabeth became Queen she used a flag which impaled her Arms (Royal Arms with a white label with red crosses on the outer points and a red rose on the centre point) with her husband's (the Duke of Edinburgh).
Graham Bartram, 14 April 1999

In a copy of the New England Journal of Vexillology some time ago, it was reported that when she was Princess of Wales she did indeed have her own flag! I don't remember too many details of it but it included her arms on the right (which I remember was black and had some shells on it among other things) and her then-husband's on the left.
David Kendall, 14 April 1999

That would be a banner of her arms, but Royal Protocol differs from normal protocol in the matter of Banners of Arms. If a banner of arms includes the Royal Arms then special permission is needed for it to be used from Her Majesty. This is normally neither asked for nor granted. So the Duchesses of Kent and Gloucester both have arms similar to the ones you describe (apart from having their father's arms on the left) but both use the "Other Members" standard. The situation would probably be different if any of them where Princesses in their own right (rather than taking their husband's rank). As I said this was the case with Princess Elizabeth, Duchess of Edinburgh (now the Queen). 

I have never seen a Royal Standard impaled with the Spencer arms, and if such a flag had existed I would expect it to have been used at Diana's funeral. Instead the "Other Members" Standard was used. This was later described in the Flag Bulletin as "Princess Diana's Flag" (IIRC). If someone has a photo of such a standard I would love to see it because it would set a precedence for a whole load of others. An article in the latest edition of Flagmaster (093) shows the current set of Royal Standards, including those of the "minor" Royals...and it's in colour! It also includes the Queen's personal flags for Barbados, Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand. It doesn't include those for Malta, Sierra Leone or Trinidad & Tobago which are now no longer used. I hope to include these in a later edition.
Graham Bartram, 14 April 1999

Diana was entitled to use the Other Members' standard when she was married to Charles, and as a courtesy afterwards. As the wife of a prince that is the appropriate banner. Only princesses of the Royal Blood and Queens Consort have impaled banners, for example the Queen, who impaled her own arms (complete with label and charges) with Prince Philip's as HRH The Duchess of Edinburgh, although Hers went on the left! If Diana had become Queen she would have had an armorial banner that impaled the undifferenced Royal Arms with her father's, just as HM The Queen Mother had. Similarly when Camilla becomes Queen she will get an armorial banner similar to her new arms, but with the Royal Arms undifferenced.
Graham Bartram, 19 July 2005