Today (9th March) is Commonwealth Day.
The current flag for the Commonwealth of Nations was introduced just 16 months ago (November 2013) and contained a number of small but significant changes made to the original flag – first adopted on 26th March 1976.
Three year earlier at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Ottawa, Canada, the 1976-version was developed from, of all things, car pennants. Arnold Smith (the first Commonwealth Secretary-General) and then-Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau are credited with the flag’s initiative.
Most notably on the 2013-version the number of ‘spearheads’ surrounding the globe in the flag’s centre was reduced from 64 to 34, though the ‘C for Commonwealth’ motif around the globe remained. The globe itself was titled slightly and the colour of the flag changed from Pantone 286 to Pantone 280, making it a slightly lighter blue.
Two 2013-versions exist, a standard 3:5 version and a 1:2 version – every British Overseas Territory has a 1:2 ratio flag.
Bonus Fact: Commonwealth Day is not fixed on the calendar like Christmas for example. It takes place on the second Monday of March each year.
Commonwealth Day 2016 will take place on 14th March, and on 13th March in 2017.
Alex Crouch is a 2014 journalism graduate from Southampton Solent University. He has followed Formula One since before he started infant school, was a Games Maker during the London Paralympics and saw Pink Floyd reunite for one song at The O2 in London. Links: Twitter, blog, YouTube. Alex is an accredited Flag Institute journalist.