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Norwegian-Swedish Union Royal Flag (1844-1905)

Last modified: 2014-05-22 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: sweden and norway | royal flag | herring salad | sillsallad | union | union mark |
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Norwegian version
[Norwegian-Swedish Royal Flag (Norwegian Version), 1844-1905] image by Željko Heimer, 28 July 2002

Swedish version
[Norwegian-Swedish Royal Flag (Swedish Version), 1844-1905] image by Željko Heimer, 1 August 2002

See also:

History of the Flag

The royal flag of 1844-1905 did not have the union arms [of Sweden-Norway] on a square panel on the centre of the arms, as the present Swedish royal flag has the greater state arms, but the arms were right upon the cross. A picture of this flag is shown in Jan von Konow: "Svenska flaggan - När? Hur? Och varför?" [knw86a], on page 19. The groundpattern is the Swedish three-tounged flag with the union mark in the canton. The colours are darker and the cross is broader than in the present flag.
Elias Granqvist, 2001-Jan-25

The white square was reintroduced after 1905. Prior to 1844 Swedish royal flags had the arms set on a white field over the intersection of the arms. When a new model for the royal flag was introduced along with other revised flags in the flag system of 1844 the box disappeared. 1844 was the year the union mark was set into the Swedish and Norwegian flags.

Swedish royal flags are accounted for in a nice publication: Torsten Lenk: "Svensk kunglig flagga," Livrustkammaren: Journal of The Royal Armoury, Vol. 6, No. 11-12, 1954, pp. 180-212
Jan Oskar Engene, 2001-Jan-26

This [the upper image above] is the Norwegian royal standard of 1844 pattern. The coat of arms of the dual kingdom was set in the crossing point of the cross but without the otherwise usual white panel.
Željko Heimer, 28 July 2002

Note that these were the arms of the united kingdoms (plural). The union was one between two separate kingdoms, hence the two crowns over the shield.

There was only one version of the union arms. In the 1901 flag regulations there is a depiction of the Royal flag with Norway occupying the first half of the shield, but this is something of a mystery because no official decision was made providing for this. One theory is that this particular version of the arms was the initiative of the anti-union minister of defence. There is nothing to suggest that it was ever used. And certainly Norway is in the second part of the shield in the Royal flag used over the palace in Oslo at the time of dissolution of the union. This flag was sent to Stockholm at the request of Oscar II and is kept in the Bernadotte Library. There is a photo of it on the cover of the 1993 yearbook from the Swedish Army Museum.
Jan Oskar Engene, 29-30 July 2002

The Union Arms

[Norwegian-Swedish Union Arms, 1844-1905] image by Željko Heimer, 28 July 2002

[Norwegian-Swedish Union Arms, 1844-1905] the same arms as scanned from [ber51]

This is the coat of arms from the flag enlarged. This is based on Corel clipart of the current Swedish arms adapted according to the scans of the 1844 coat of arms. This can hardly compete with the artwork of the Norwegian heraldic authorities, but at this size I believe it is not that obviously incorrect
Željko Heimer, 28 July 2002

Heimer's drawing is a close approximation, but some details (the crowns, the posture of the lions, etc.) seem rather modern to me. To make the rest of the list able to compare, I attach a scan of the authorized drawing of the flag (dated 1844). This is a scan from [ber51].
Jan Oskar Engene, 29 July 2002