Royal Stewart tartan

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 The Royal Stewart tartan
The Royal Stewart tartan

The Royal Stewart 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 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.

Crash helmet of Jackie Stewart with the Royal Stewart tartan

Theoretically, this tartan cannot 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 has no 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 universalization to "commercialisation in recent times"; traditionally, the Black Watch or Hunting Stewart tartan were 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] In the 1960s the tartan became well known in motor racing circles, as British 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. ^ tartanDetails on
  2. ^ Colin W Hutcheson, The Scottish Tartans Authority Royal tartans, Scottish Tartans Authority, accessed 7th October 2017.
  3. ^ Marketing". p. 9. Haymarket Press, 1973
  4. ^ "Top 20 Greatest F1 racers: Sir Jackie Stewart". Retrieved 2013-08-23.