THE UNION JACK FLAG - CROSSES OF THE PATRON SAINTS OF ENGLAND, SCOTLAND AND IRELAND - DR. GIL HAAS, ST. AUGUSTINE OF CANTERBURY EPISCOPAL CHURCH
The Union Flag of the United Kingdom combines the crosses of the patron saints of England, Scotland, and Ireland. The first Union Flag, designed in 1606 when James I was crowned king of the newly united England and Scotland, combined the crosses of St. George (a red “+”), patron saint of England, with the cross of St. Andrew (a white “X” on a blue field), patron saint of Scotland. The cross of St. Patrick (a red “X”on a white field), patron saint of Ireland, was added to the Union Flag after the Act of Union of Ireland with England and Scotland in 1801. The cross of St. David (a yellow “+” on a black field), patron saint of Wales, was never a part of the Union Flag because when the first flag was created, Wales was already united with England and was not a separate entity. However, zealot Welshmen wish that the flag were changed to include their cross also. The Union Flag is never flown at half-mast in mourning for a monarch, as the new monarch immediately succeeds their predecessor. Hence the phrase, “The king is dead; long live the king.” The term “Union Jack” is derived from a proclamation that it be flown as a jack, or small flag, at a ship’s stern.
~Dr. Gil Haas, St. Augustine of Canterbury Episcopal Church