Piggotts Flag Flying Protocol Part 2 • Piggotts Flags and Branding
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Piggotts Flag Flying Protocol Part 2

In Front of and On a Building

Where there are two or more flagpoles parallel to the building line, the senior national flag should be the first flag on the left of an observer facing the main entrance of the building. The remaining flags then appear in order of precedence from left to right.

Where there are two or more flagpoles on the forecourt of a building angled to the main entrance, the senior national flag should be flown on the outermost pole when the flagpoles are to the left of the main entrance and on the innermost pole when the flagpoles are to the right of the main entrance, as shown in the diagram.

If only one flag is to be flown and there are two flagpoles, it should be flown on the flagpole to the observer’s left. If there are more than two flagpoles, it should be flown as near as possible to the centre. This only applies when the other flagpoles remain empty. It is permissible to fly the same national flag on more than one flagpole by repeating the order of precedence.

If one flagpole is higher than the rest, then the senior national flag can fly from that flagpole; however no non-UK national flags can be flown on the other flagpoles. These can be used for more junior flags such as county and house flags. Alternatively the higher flagpole can be left empty and the remaining flagpoles used. In general when siting flagpoles, it is preferable to keep them at the same level to avoid protocol restrictions.

The appropriate size of flag for any flagpole is a matter of aesthetics but, as a guide, a ground-level flagpole should have a flag whose length (its longer dimension) is no more than 1/3 of the pole’s height. A flagpole on top of a building may need a larger flag because of the added height of the building.

Within a Circle of Flags

In a semi-circle of flags representing a number of nations, the senior national flag should be in the centre. The remaining flags should be placed with the next most senior flag (or first in alphabetical order if all the flags are of equal seniority) on the left of the central flag, the next on the right of the central flag, the next on the 2nd left from the central flag, and continuing to alternate left and right.

In an enclosed circle of flags representing a number of nations, the senior national flag should be flown on the flagpole immediately opposite the main entrance to the venue or above the Royal Box if there is no main entrance. The remaining flags should be arranged as for the semi-circle of flags described above. Alternatively they can be arranged alphabetically, going clockwise.

From a Flagpole with Yardarm and Gaff

When displayed on a flagpole fitted with yardarms (horizontal cross-pieces), the senior national flag or ensign [5] should be flown from the starboard yardarm (the right as viewed from the rear, the left as viewed from the front).

If the flagpole is fitted with a gaff (a short pole attached to the flagpole at an angle – see diagram), the senior ensign should be flown from the gaff. If there is no ensign to be flown, the gaff should be left empty and the senior national flag flown from the starboard yardarm, as described above.

A yacht club burgee or distinguishing flag can be flown from the masthead, the highest point of the flagpole.

In Processions

The senior national flag should always lead in a single file of flags.

When two or more flags are carried side-by-side, the senior national flag takes the position of honour at the right-hand side of the line facing the direction of movement (the left of an observer watching the line approach).

When passing the person taking the salute, the flag should be lowered so that the staff is horizontal. This can be done by simply lowering the staff straight ahead, or by lowering the staff towards the person taking the salute and then swinging it round to straight ahead. All the movements should be slow and dignified. After the salute, the flag should be raised again.

With Crossed Flags

Whenever crossed with the flag of another nation or organisation, the senior national flag should be on the left of the observer facing the flag. Its staff should be in front of the staff of the other flag.

Suspended Vertically Above a Street

Care should be taken to ensure that all flags suspended vertically across a street are hung to be seen from the same direction.

Flat Against a Surface

Union Flag – If hung horizontally or vertically, the broad white diagonal should be uppermost in the top-left corner.

Other flags – If hung vertically, the edge that would normally be the top of the flag should be on the left, so, for example, ensigns have their Union Flag canton in the upper left corner. On ensigns that have an armorial badge, if possible the badge should be upright, and the correct way round.

Piggotts Flags & Branding, Unit 3, Taber Place, Crittall Rd, Witham Essex CM8 3YP
Reg Office: 855 London Road, Thurrock, RM20 3LG
Reg Number: 10582644