Union Flag Flying Days

When should Union Flags be flown?

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport are to carry out consultations following the publication on 3 July 2007 of the Green Paper, The Governance of Britain. The consultations concern the arrangements for flag flying from government buildings. In the meantime the Culture Secretary has decided that government buildings in England should have the freedom to fly the Union flag whenever they want until a longer-term decision is taken.

There are 18 fixed days each year on which the Union flag should be flown on command of Her Majesty on Government buildings, along with certain variable date days, these are all listed below. A Government building for this purpose is generally accepted to mean a building owned or used by the Crown and predominately occupied or used by Civil Servants or Her Majesty’s Armed Forces.

Individuals, local authorities and other organisations may fly the Union flag whenever they wish, subject to compliance with any local planning requirements.

The Union flag should be flown during daylight hours between 8:00am and sunset.

Union Flag flying days

January :
9 January :
20 January :
27 January :

Birthday of The Duchess of Cambridge
Birthday of The Countess of Wessex
Holocaust Day
February :
6 February :
19 February :

Her Majesty's Accession
Birthday of The Duke of York
March :
2nd Monday in March :
10 March :

Commonwealth Day
Birthday of The Earl of Wessex
April :
21 April :
23 April :

Birthday of Her Majesty The Queen
St George's Day
May :
9 May :

Europe Day
June :
2 June :
10 June :
21 June :
June as appointed :

Coronation Day
Birthday of The Duke of Edinburgh
Birthday of Prince William
Official Celebration of Her Majesty's Birthday
July :
17 July :

Birthday of The Duchess of Cornwall
August :
15 August :

Birthday of The Princess Royal
September :
15 September :

Birthday of Prince Harry
October :
21 October :

Trafalgar Day
November :
11 November :
2nd Sunday :
14 November :
20 November :

Remembrance Day
Remembrance Sunday
Birthday of The Prince of Wales
Her Majesty's Wedding Day

Other special days at Her Majesty's command.

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How should the Union Flag be flown?

The correct way up for the Union Flag when flying is with the broader diagonal white stripe at the top left hand side of the flag nearest the flagpole :

Correct flying for Union Flag
Incorrect flying for Union Flag

The Union Flag must always be flown in a 'superior' position:

On the highest flagpole.
On the centre flagpole where there is an odd number of poles of the same height.
On the left centre flagpole viewed from the front of the building, where there is an even number of the same height.

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What is half-mast and when should flags be flown at half-mast?

When flags are to be flown at half-mast they should be two-thirds up between the top and bottom of the flagstaff with at least the height of the flag between the top of the flag and the top of the flagpole.

When raising the flag it should always be hoisted right up and then lowered back down to half-mast. Likewise before it is lowered at sunset, it should first be hoisted right up and then lowered back down.

Flags should be flown at half-mast on the following occasions:

From the announcement of the death up to the funeral of the Sovereign, except on Proclamation Day (the Day of the announcement of the Accession of the new Sovereign), when the flags are hoisted right up from 11:00am to sunset,
In the event of the death of a member of the Royal Family, flags should be lowered from the day of death to the day of the funeral, subject to special commands from Her Majesty in each case,
The funerals of foreign rulers, subject to special commands from Her Majesty in each case,
The funerals of Prime Ministers and ex-Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom, subject to special commands from Her Majesty in each case,

What Happens when flag flying days coincide with days for flying flags at half-mast?

Flags should be flown right up:

Although a member of the Royal Family, or a near relative of the Royal Family, may be lying dead, unless special commands are received from Her Majesty to the contrary,
Although it may be the day of the funeral of a foreign ruler.

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