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Royal Standard (Jordan)

Last modified: 2015-08-13 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: jordan | royal | triangle: hoist (red) | star: 7 points | crown (white) | crown (yellow) | gironny |
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[Royal Standard (Jordan)]
image by Željko Heimer and André Coutanche, 15 Nov 2005

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Jordan's royal standard is quite unique; it has a small national flag in the center, in a white oval, only the star in the triangle is replaced by an arched crown. The field is made up of rays in the state colors, black in each corner (like a St. Andrew's cross) then white, green, white, red, white, repeat. If you could have gyronny with 4 colors and white in every other space, this is what it would look like.
Josh Fruhlinger, 08 Apr 1996

Colour of the Crown

[Smith 1975 p. 295 depicts the crown on the arms in gold/yellow.
Kevin McNamara, 18 Nov 1998

After watching Jordan TV, I found out that the crown is in gold.
Dov Gutterman, 19 Nov 1998

Months ago I submitted a GIF of the Jordanian Royal Standard. Dov Gutterman and others said that the crown should have been gold, so I changed it. This evening on the TV news, they showed the new king of Jordan and behind him were two royal standards, both with white crowns as shown in [Pedersen 1971. This is via cable and my color is fine. What's up?
Michael P. Smuda, 08 Feb 1999

Page 3 of The Guardian UK newspaper February 8th 1999 has a photo of the new King Abdullah passing a Jordanian royal standard in the background. This is the rayed version and it clearly bears a white crown.
Roy Stilling, 08 Feb 1999

Yesterday all Spanish TV channels plus BBC World showed Queen Noor and women of the royal family standing before a royal standard with a white crown. Also King Abdullah was shown taking office before two royal standards with white crowns. But I believe at some point (or simultaneously) a royal standard with a golden crown has existed. Whitney Smith had it like that in [Smith 1975 and Dov Gutterman saw it on Jordan TV. By the way, the crown looked more elaborate than the one in FOTW: some thin, black fimbriation in the borders plus some hatching to make slight shadows.
Santiago Dotor, 09 Feb 1999

I must add one more piece more to the puzzle. My observation on the royal flag was when I watched the finale of JTV broadcasting, showing, while the himn is sung, the picture of the late king and the royal standard. The same finale was used since I started watching JTV about more than 15 years ago, and by judging from the quite "young days" photo of the late king, even more. Therefore, my observation, even registered in last months, is not, by all means by watching a current flag. If W. Smith informed about a gold crown at 1975, and no doubt the current flags are with white crown, I must agree with Santiago's suggestion that there was a change somewhere in the way. BTW – I tried to copy the finale with my VCR, but it was already changed!
Dov Gutterman, 10 Feb 1999

I was to Jordan in March 2000 and I can say with certainty, from having seen it in the king's office in Basman palace and flying from a pole above the palace entrance that it [the crown on the royal standard] is all white with black detailing and with none of the red field behind it showing through.
Joseph McMillan, 04 Apr 2000

After the early 1999 funerals for King Hussein and the frequent media display of royal standards which took place at the time, it is now clear that the current standard shows a white crown. However, there are reasons to think that it was gold at some time in the past, until sometime in between 1971 and 1999. [Pedersen 1971 shows it white, but [Smith 1975 keeps showing it gold. Dov Gutterman saw it as gold on a Jordanian TV recording from the 1980s until late 1998 or early 1999, when the recording was replaced with one showing the flag with a white crown.
Moreover, there are clues that even earlier it had a star instead of a crown, so that the flag contained inside the oval was identical to the national flag. It is shown like that in both [Flaggenbuch 1939 and [Neubecker 1939 — read on under Standard of the Emir of Transjordan 1939 below.
[Znamierowski 1999 says the Jordanian royal standard (with crown) has been in use "since 1928". [Znamierowski 1999 is wrong however in that it shows the crown as gold.
Conclusions? Well, it appears that we have some facts:

  • the current standard has a white crown;
  • the crown was gold on a former standard, for which dates are uncertain;
and some theories:
  • the original standard had a star, this changed later to a gold crown, then to a white one;
  • Neubecker ([Flaggenbuch 1939 and [Neubecker 1939) is mistaken and the standard never had a star, only a crown (firstly gold later white);
  • Smith, Znamierowski are mistaken and the crown has always been white since 1928.
Only to confuse things further, we have [Evans 1959 and [Evans 1966 speaking about a completely different "king's flag", like the national flag plus a gold crown.
Santiago Dotor, 31 Oct 2000

The Jordanian protocol department confirmed that the Royal Standard has a white crown rather than a gold one as I had originally assumed.
Graham Bartram, 01 Nov 2000

It is shown in Pederson's "International Flag Book in Colour"(1970), and it is white – although I am suspicious of the accuaracy of the crown – and looks similar to the crown on the old Libyan Royal Standard.
Martin Grieve, 12 Nov 2005

From page 174 of Barraclough and Crampton's book "Flags of the World," 1978 Edition:

The Royal Standard is of unusual design, originally intended to distinguish it from those of the Hedjaz and Iraq. The flag in the centre is the same as the former Royal Standard of Iraq.

Flaggenbuch shows the former Royal Standard of Iraq – but the crown is gold. If we take a look at the Jordanian Arms, the crown is similar in appearance but more intricate in its detail. This may just be the correct one to draw, as it bears up with Joe McMillan's eyewitnesss account of the flag when he mentions that the crown (white) has black detailing and some red showing through.
All the evidence here points to the fact that the crown was indeed once gold in hue, but changed to white later (when?)I would therefore now dismiss the version shown in Pederson(1970), Album(2000) and all other publications which illustrate this crown as a more simplified version, although of course, I stand to correction here.
I personally doubt if the crown as described by Barraclough and Crampton would be exactly identical to the former Iraqi version, but it is most certainly similar in it's appearance to the present crown shown on the Coat of Arms. Surely it is the same crown on the Army flag and Ensign (at least in outline details)?
Why on earth we cannot obtain more details on a present-day flag of this importance is frustrating, and begs the question of what chance we have on historical flags here?:-)
Martin Grieve, 14 Nov 2005

According to the large image of the Jordanian COA here, (the same drawing could be found on several other official JO sites) the crown is something like this – my drawing based on the COA:

[Crown of Transjordan (Jordan)]
Željko Heimer, 15 Nov 2005

The lozenges in the bottom rim appear to have a cross-like tridimensional relief effect.
Santiago Dotor, 15 Nov 2005

The royal standard of Iraq as per Flaggenbuch is already shown on FOTW, drawn by me. The crown is certainly similar, and could be surely described as the same in the first approximation. It is probably meant that the crowns represent the same type of the crown even though the graphic is slightly different.
Željko Heimer, 15 Nov 2005

Variants of the Standard

Quoting the 1929 Flag Law:

The inner (or narrower) width of the five rays at the top of the Standard and the five rays at the bottom of the Standard shall equal one-fifth the length of the flag of East Jordan.

These dimensions are not shown in the Flaggenbuch construction, nor have I shown them in my construction sheets [below].
However, I have a problem with this construction requirement. If we use the same dimensions as in the Flaggenbuch (and indeed that I have shown in my January images) the 1/5 of the length of the central flag (that is 84 units long) would be 16.8.
Anyway, however we make the math the five arches can never fulfil the requirement if they have to make an eliptic arch aroudn the stight line, since their common length is also 84 as the direct length between the two horizontal edges fo the flag. Therefore it is geometrically necessery that the arches (i.e. the inner width of the five rays) must be larger the 1/5 of the small flag length.
According to my calculations and using the requirement that the extensions of these rays would cross at the flag center (as shown in Neubecker and possibly confirmed to him by some source), the innerwidth of the green and red ray would indeed be very close to the prescribed 1/5 (=16.8), but the white rays would have about 18.6 atthe side rays and 19.6 at the central (vertical) ray.
I guess that this is the reason why Neubecker did not give any dimension for these. (Did someone use the term "ridiculous" in connection with the flag prescription, as it is quite proper, but I can't find the quote right now.)
As far as I remember it is these variants where the crown replaces the star in the central flag:

1: crown yellow, outlined black ("Jordani crown")
2: crown white, outlined black, background red
3: crown white, outlined black, background white
4: crown yellow, outlined black ("Iraqi crown")

Various versions reported:

  1. crown as in the Jordani COA (full colour, i.e. yellow w/red inside)
  2. crown as Jordan CoA but white
  3. crown as Jordan CoA, white with white background
  4. crown as in the Iraqi royal flag (I put here the Iraq royal flag as per Flaggenbuch, i.e. also with the red trangle shorter, as in previous Jordanian flag)

Also, there is a report of another flag, the usual national flag without rays and with the crown added in the canton (it is named "king's flag" in Santiago's report from 2000.) This may also have two variants in the crown styles, but I somehow tend to think of it as using the "Iraqi" crown instead of the intricate version above.
Željko Heimer, 15 Nov 2005

Photos from the web support variant #3 (white crown filled with white). See 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.
Marcus Schmöger, 19 Nov 2006

Standard of the Emir of Transjordan 1928-?

[Emir of Transjordan 1928-? (Jordan)]
image by Željko Heimer, 29 Jan 2005

[Construction Sheet – Emir of Transjordan 1928-? (Jordan)]
image by Željko Heimer, 29 Jan 2005

[Flaggenbuch 1939 shows the standard of the Emir of Transjordan as a small national flag in the centre of a white oval. The national flag nearly touches the oval and has no black border, whereas the oval does have a black border.
Ivan Sache, 11 Mar 2000

I think this is a slight misreading of what Flaggenbuch is showing.
Firstly, the corners of the national flag do touch the edge of the ellipse (not "nearly touch"); and secondly, I believe that the line around the ellipse is showing the construction of the flag and isn't meant to be there on a real standard. The image on page 172 of the 1939 Flaggenbuch is a construction sheet, and, as well as dimensions superimposed on the graphic, also includes a thin black line along the edge of one of the green sections. My reading is that the circumference of the ellipse is equally notional.
André Coutanche, 15 Nov 2005

The corners of the national flag do, as Andre says and the legislation required, touch the edges of the ellipse, and I would agree with him that the black line around the ellipse (shown in the Flaggenbuch) isn't meant to be on the real standard. It appears to me that the figures given at the hoist and fly and the construction lines for the upper and lower rays are an attempt to rationalize an unworkable legal formula? By this last I mean that the circumference of the portions of the ellipse at the hoist and fly are regulated at eight-sevenths the width of the small national flag, whereas as the circumference of the ellipse at the top and base is given as a ridiculous five-fifths the length (which is of course nonsense).
Christopher Southworth, 15 Nov 2005

Both [Flaggenbuch 1939 and [Neubecker 1939 show a star instead of a crown, so that the flag contained inside the oval was identical to the national flag.
This might be a (quite unusual) mistake of Neubecker's, since there are reasons to think that the flag within the oval was never actually the same as the Jordanian flag. [Barraclough and Crampton 1981 claims that the unusual design of the royal standard aimed to differentiate it from the (at the time) royal standards of Hejaz and Iraq — the two other countries ruled in the early 1920s by the Hashemite dinasty. [Barraclough and Crampton 1981 adds that the flag contained in the oval (national flag with crown instead of star, no indication if white or yellow as it only has a line drawing) was identical to the 1930-1958 royal standard of Iraq. [Flaggenbuch 1939 shows indeed the Iraqi royal standard as a black-white-green tricolour with a red hoist triangle on which appears a yellow arab crown. The only difference with the flag in the oval of the Jordanian royal standard is that the triangle in the Iraqi standard has a square angle, as that of Hejaz.
Also [Znamierowski 1999 says the Jordanian royal standard with crown has been in use "since 1928".
Santiago Dotor, 31 Oct 2000

I notice that there is some doubt with regard to the flag of the Emir of Transjordan, best resolved by the text of the relevant law: "The Flag of His Highness the Emir," published in Issue 217 of the Official Gazette on 1 February 1929.

"The flag (liwa'a) of His Highness our Honoured Prince – hereinafter called the Standard or Emiral Standard – shall be of the following style and dimensions:

It shall have a length which is double its width, and the flag of East Jordan, as laid down in previous legislation, shall be reduced to an area one-third that of the Emiral Standard and placed in its centre. The flag of East Jordan shall be shown in an ellipsoid and this ellipsoid shall have 24 rays arranged around its circumference.

There shall be a ray at each corner of the Standard, and the outer (or wider) end of each ray shall occupy one-seventh the length and one-seventh the width of that Standard. The top edges of the (two) upper rays and the bottom edges of the (two) lower rays shall form a connection between the corners of the small flag and the outer edges of the larger.

There shall be five rays between (each of) the corner rays, and the outer (or wider) width of the rays at the top and bottom shall equal one-seventh the length of the Emiral Standard, and those at the hoist and fly one-seventh the width.

The inner (or narrower) width of (each of) the (four) rays at the corners of the Standard shall equal three-fourteenths the width of the (small) flag of East Jordan, and the width of the five rays at hoist and the five rays at the fly shall equal one-seventh the width of that flag.

The inner (or narrower) width of the five rays at the top of the Standard and of the five rays at the bottom shall equal one-fifth the length of the (small) flag of East Jordan.

Starting with the ray at the upper hoist corner next to the mast, the colours of the rays shall be black, white, green, white, red and continue in this pattern."

This confirms that Neubecker did not make a mistake in the 1939 Flaggenbuch, although we must assume (in default of any legislation) that the central flag was altered c. 1938 with the change to the flag of the Emirate. It is also confirmed that the edges of the small flag should touch the edges of the ellipsoid (as they do in my copy of the Flaggenbuch), so yet again that marvellous publication got it right. As far as I can tell the prescriptions with regard to the inner widths of the rays don't actually work, but in any case Herr Neubecker – with the exception of the corner rays in which he followed the law – very sensibly took them to the centre of the flag. The ellipsoid does not have a black ring around it according to law, so its appearance in the Flaggenbuch may reflect actual practice in use?
The law as it was received assumes we would realize that another white stripe should follow the last red mentioned, and doesn't stipulate that the centre of the ellipsoid should be white, but there again the rather basic translation I was working from may well have missed those details out. The size of the ellipse is not given but may be inferred from the size of the small flag that it must touch, and from the fact that 3/14 + 1/7 + 1/7 +1/7 + 1/7 + 1/7 + 3/14 at the ends = 8/7 the hoist of the small flag (as is confirmed by the figures given in the Flaggenbuch). The fact that a white stripe is missing from the sequence of colours is hardly significant.
Christopher Southworth, 28 Jan 2005

The construction as explained in the decree does not really add up, namely the lengths of the stripes along the ellipsoid above and below would have to be 16.8 using the same units as on the sheets, but to obtain decently looking ellipsoid these sizes have to be larger. No doubt Neubecker found himself with the same problem and resolved it elegantly, so I also follow it.
Željko Heimer, 29 Jan 2005

Standard of the Emir of Transjordan 1934-?

[Emir of Transjordan 1934-? (Jordan)]
image by Željko Heimer, 29 Jan 2005

[Construction Sheet – Emir of Transjordan 1934-? (Jordan)]
image by Željko Heimer, 29 Jan 2005

As a follow up of my post yesterday on the Emiral Flag of Jordan: looking at the Standard as regulated 1929 and using the 1928 flag of Transjordan as it is laid down in the legislation, it is easy to see why various changes have occurred over the years.
Using the 1928 version of the flag, the angle of the upper and lower edges of the corner rays on the Standard very closely follow the angle of the triangle on the central flag, whereas, the c. 1938 version with the longer triangle spoils this apparent symmetry and possibly explains why Neubecker felt justified (or had obtained information from official sources) in making the five upper and five lower rays join in the centre of the Standard rather than give them the originally specified widths, where they met the ellipse?
The c. 1938 change to the flag would also explain why it became the practice to run all the rays into the centre as we have it today.
Christopher Southworth, 12 Nov 2005

Former King's Standard 1959-1966?

[King's Standard 1959-1966? (Jordan)]
image by Željko Heimer, 27 Aug 2007

This flag is described as the King's flag in two versions of The Observer's Book of Flags: [Evans 1959 and [Evans 1966. The description was "[t]he King's Standard adds a crown, in gold, between the star and the hoist". [Flaggenbuch 1939 and all recent (since 1970s) books say that the King's Standard is the white with the multicolored rays. Was this a real royal flag, is it something else, or is it nothing?
Calvin Paige Herring, 06 Feb 1999