Flag of the Commonwealth of Nations
|Commonwealth flag as adopted in 2013|
|Adopted||March 25, 1976; modified November 2013|
|Design||A gold globe, surrounded by gold spears, on a blue field.|
The flag of the Commonwealth of Nations is the official flag used by and representing the Commonwealth of Nations. Its current design dates to 2013, a modification of a design adopted in 1976.
It was designed so the globe was surrounded by 61 radiating, approximately quadrilateral, spears, which form a 'C' for 'Commonwealth'. The number of spears did not represent the number of member states (there have never been 61 members); instead, the large number represented the many ways in which the Commonwealth cooperates around the world.
In 2013, the globe was tilted, and the number of spears reduced to 34. The colourings used in the flag were also slightly modified.
The flag developed from car pennants produced for the first time at the 1973 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, held in Ottawa, Ontario. The initiative for its design is credited to two Canadians: the first Commonwealth Secretary-General, Arnold Smith; and Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. It was officially adopted on March 26, 1976.
The flag of the Commonwealth of Nations is flown at Marlborough House, London, the headquarters of the Commonwealth Secretariat, throughout the year, and for a limited period at other venues where Commonwealth meetings, events, or visits are taking place (for example, Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings). Ironically, the Canadian federal government does not stipulate that the flag be flown for Commonwealth Day, instead directing that the British Union Jack (officially called the Royal Union Flag) be flown at federal installations which have a second flagpole.
Former Commonwealth Secretary-General Don McKinnon encourages the flying of the Commonwealth flag on Commonwealth Day, and the Office of the Secretary-General notes that "it is not the case that the Union Jack - or the flag of any other member country for that matter - is a substitute for the Commonwealth flag which represents the association of 53 members and their peoples."
Elsewhere, the Commonwealth flag is flown at the Scottish Parliament Building in Edinburgh on Commonwealth Day, from the fourth flagpole in addition to the Union Flag, the Scottish saltire and the European Union flag which all fly daily. Since 2002 the Commonwealth flag has been flown alongside the Union Flag, over the Northern Ireland Assembly's home at Parliament Buildings Stormont every Commonwealth Day.
- "Symbol and Flag". Commonwealth Secretariat. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "Commonwealth of Nations". Flags of the World.
- Thomas, Dean (2004-03-31). "Commonwealth of Nations". Flags of the World. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- "The Royal Union flag". Department of Canadian Heritage. 2007-09-24. Retrieved 2008-01-14.
- Letter from the office of the Commonwealth Secretary-General, January 30, 2008
- "School Pupils Help Parliament Mark Commonwealth Day". Scottish Parliament. 2001-03-13. Retrieved 2008-01-14.