Royal Stewart tartan

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The Royal Stewart tartan
The Royal Stewart tartan

The Royal Stewart or Royal Stuart tartan is the best-known tartan retrospectively associated with the royal House of Stewart, and is also the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II. The sett was first published in 1831 in the book The Scottish Gael by James Logan. Officially, the tartan is worn by the pipers of the Royal Scots Black Watch, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, and the Scots Guards, as well as a select few civilian groups. The 5th Bolton Scout Group and the 5th Potters Bar Scout Group wear the scarf (neckerchief/necker) officially, with permission from the Queen, and the Queen's Bands (of Queen's University) wear the tartan as part of their official uniforms. So too do the Winnipeg Police Pipe Band. The tartan may also be worn by members who took part in a patrol leaders training course.

Depiction of the helmet of Jackie Stewart with the Royal Stewart tartan

Theoretically, this tartan should not be worn without the express permission of the Queen. However, the Scottish Register of Tartans observes that in practice, due to its popularity, it has become a universal tartan, which can be worn by anyone who doesn't have their own clan tartan. "In the same way that clansmen wear the tartan of their chief, it is appropriate for all subjects of the Queen to wear the Royal Stewart tartan."[1] Colin W Hutcheson attributes this universalisation to "commercialisation in recent times"; traditionally, the Black Watch (darkened Old Campbell) and Hunting Stewart tartans were used as universal tartans requiring no permission.[2]

In addition to its use in clothing, such as skirts and scarves, Royal Stewart tartan has also appeared on biscuit tins for Scottish shortbread.[3][full citation needed] In the 1960s, the tartan became well known in motor racing circles, as three-time Formula One world champion Jackie Stewart from Scotland used a distinctive band of Royal Stewart tartan around his crash helmet.[4] In the late 1970s, the Royal Stewart tartan became popular in punk fashion.


  1. ^ "Tartan Details - Stewart/Stuart, Royal #2". The Scottish Register of Tartans. Retrieved 2011-11-03. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Hutcheson, Colin W. "The Scottish Tartans Authority Royal tartans". Scottish Tartans Authority. Retrieved 2017-10-07. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. ^ Marketing". p. 9. Haymarket Press, 1973
  4. ^ "Top 20 Greatest F1 racers: Sir Jackie Stewart". sportskeeda. 2012-12-14. Archived from the original on 2013-01-24. Retrieved 2013-08-23. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)