Why is the British flag called the Union Jack and where is it correctly located?

Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee 2022 - Trooping The Colour

Union Jacks fly high over the UK as Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her Platinum Jubilee this weekend (Image: Getty Images)

Britain will be bathed in red, white and blue this weekend Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her platinum anniversary.

The right royal occasion is celebrating the 96-year-old monarch and her 70-year reign.

There are special events taking place throughout the bank holiday weekend, with many planned here in the capital.

Flags, banners, cutlery and more can be purchased from shops across the country to celebrate the event, many adorned with the iconic Union Jack.

But why is our flag called the Union Jack? And how do you know if you are pointing the flag the right way round?

Why is it called the Union Jack?

The Union Jack, sometimes called the Union Flag, gets its name because it ‘unites’ the three kingdoms of England and Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The origins of the “Jack” part of the name are uncertain, but it is believed to derive from the name of a small sea flag.

The Union Jack is the flag of the United Kingdom and its design combines the flags of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The earliest adaptation of the flag was designed by King James I in 1606 after he inherited the thrones of England and Scotland in 1603.

King James I of England and Scotland

King James I of England and Scotland (1566-1625). (Image: Getty Images)

Originally the flag contained only the Cross of St George and the Cross of St Andrew, but in 1801 with the unification of Great Britain and Ireland the Cross of St Patrick was added.

Despite being part of the United Kingdom, there is no representation of Wales on the Union Jack.

On land, the flag was traditionally known as the Union Flag, while at sea it was known as the Union Jack.

However, in 1902 it was officially announced that either name could be used.

Unlike the flags of most nations, the Union Jack has no code of conduct.

This means it can be folded and reproduced in its original form on merchandise, printed matter and other memorabilia.

Have you hung your Union Jack the right way round? (Image: Getty Images)

How to tell if your Union Jack is upside down

While you may think that the Union Jack is symmetrical and can be hung any way and look the same, you are wrong.

Fortunately, if you pay close attention to the size of the stripes, you can tell if you’re hanging your flag correctly.

If you look at the white stripes on the flag closest to the flagpole, the wider stripes should sit on top of the diagonal red stripes.

On the flag, these broad white stripes represent the St. Andrew’s Cross, while the diagonal red stripes represent the St. Patrick’s Cross.

This means if you look at the opposite side of the flag, the thin white stripes should sit on top of the diagonal red lines.

When hanging vertically, you should make sure that the thick white line is at the top left.

MORE : Prince Andrew says he has Covid and will therefore not be able to attend the anniversary event

MORE : These are the best events in London this bank holiday weekend

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Queen Elizabeth II Platinum Jubilee 2022

Dust off your Union Jack bunting, Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee is finally here.

The celebrations, which will take place from Thursday 2 June to Sunday 5 June, will mark Her Majesty’s record-breaking 70th anniversary on the throne.

There will be street parties, concerts and other special events across the UK attended by the Queen and senior members of the Royal Family. Why is the British flag called the Union Jack and where is it correctly located?

Justin Scacco

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