What happens to the Union flag if Scotland goes independent?

Following the fourth consecutive Holyrood election win for the Scottish National Party (SNP), the question of Scottish Independence is once again rising across the UK. With Nicola Sturgeon pledging to move forward with plans for a second referendum, and a constitutional battle with Westminster approaching, there are several unresolved issues about what an independent Scotland would look like, and what it would mean for the rest of the UK.

At the time of the first referendum on Scottish independence in 2014, there were several questions surrounding the national flags of both Scotland and the United Kingdom. Scotland, like all nations of the UK, has its own individual flag and an independent Scotland would almost certainly sue the St Andrew’s Saltire as its national flag. What is unclear, however, is what would happen to the iconic design of the Union flag?

The Saltire of St Andrew has been paired with the St George’s Cross since 1606. When James VI of Scotland became James I of England, the two flags were combined to create the Flag of Great Britain (also known as the King’s Colours). In 1801 the St Patrick’s flag was added to the design to create the Union that we know and recognise today.

According to the College of Arms, the authority for official flags for the United Kingdom and the Commonwealth of Countries, an independent Scotland would have no effect on the current Union flag. It is understood that even as an independent state, Scotland would retain Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state and therefore the Union flag would not need to be affected.

Likely to divide opinion in both Scotland and the rest of the UK, it would be interesting to see the public reaction to an unchanged Union flag should Scotland move forward with a second referendum and especially if they voted for independence.

If the Union flag were to change, what would it look like? Our team of talented designers have mocked up 3 potential options for the national flag for the United Kingdom if Scotland were to leave the union.


The first is probably the simplest option. The Current Union flag but without the blue background and the white saltire of St Andrew. The flag would become a combination of the St George’s cross and the red saltire of the Flag of St Patrick.


Officials may choose to finally include Wales in the Union flag and highlight the unity of the countries still part of the United Kingdom. Adding the famous Welsh Dragon (Y Ddraig Goch) would be a bold and noticeable change to the iconic Union flag. Click here to learn why Wales isn’t already included in the Union flag.


A lesser-known heraldic symbol for Wales is the Cross of St David. This yellow cross on a black background could offer a more subtle addition to the Union flag whilst still giving Wales the representation. Combining the flags of three patron saints would also make for an interesting new flag for the UK, but is moving away from the traditional red, white and blue too much of a change for people to accept?

Whilst the future of Scottish independence is still unclear, we patiently await further information on how an independent Scotland would affect vexillology and the flags that we have all come to recognise. What is certain, however, is that whatever the future for Scotland, Flagmakers will continue to provide premium quality flags and flagpoles for clients across England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland.

Explore our full range of national flags, including 190+ countries of the world, or discover the perfect flagpole solution to fly your chosen flag with pride. To discuss your needs and requirements, contact our team today on 01246 472949 or email sales@flagmakers.co.uk

Exclusive offers direct to your inbox

Subscribe today to receive offers available only to our subscribers.

You can unsubscribe at any time

Registered and Accredited