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History Of The Welsh Flag

The Wales Tourist Board tells us that: "The Welsh flag consists of two equal horizontal stripes, white over green, superimposed on which is a large red dragon passant. The Red Dragon, one of the most ancient badges in the world, was brought to Britain by the Romans, who had copied it from the Parthians and it was subsequently used by both British and Saxon Kings. Tradition tells it was used by Arthur and it was certainly the standard of Cadwalladr, from whom the Tudors were descended, and of Henry VII on Bosworth field (i.e. at the Battle of the Roses). When Henry VII became King of England in 1485, he decreed that the Red Dragon should be known as the official flag of Wales." Several people have written to Data Wales about variations in the way the dragon is rendered. They have noticed several variations on the Web and wonder, not surprisingly, which one is correct. I took up this matter with Rouge Dragon Pursuivant at the College of Arms in London. This gentleman, whose office was created by Henry VII soon after the Battle of Bosworth Field in 1485, reminded me that mythical creatures have always been drawn in a variety of styles. It appears that there is no "standard" Welsh dragon, modern renderings must be based on historic precedents but a degree of variation is inevitable. The dragon on the flag must, however, face to the left, be sited centrally and cover equal parts of the white and green panels. The present writer drew the flag above from a design supplied by the Wales Tourist Board. The daffodil and the leek are famous emblems of Wales and the Board's document continues: "On the evidence of Shakespeare, the leek was the recognised emblem of his day, and there is written evidence that it became the Welsh emblem considerably earlier. Entries in the household accounts of the Tudor Kings include payments for leeks worn by the household guards on St. David's Day. According to one legend, the leek is linked to St. David because he ordered his soldiers to wear them on their helmets when they fought a victorious battle against the pagan Saxons in a field full of leeks. It was more likely, however, that the leek was linked with St. David and adopted as a national symbol because of its importance to the national diet in days of old, particularly in Lent." "The crest of three ostrich plumes and the motto of "Ich Dien" were adopted by the Black Prince at the Battle of Crecy. The feathers and motto were suggested by the decorations of the King of Bohemia who led the cavalry charges against the English."