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Mecklenburg Ducal and Grand Ducal Standards (Germany)

Mecklenburgs Herzogliche und Großherzogliche Standarten

Last modified: 2020-06-02 by klaus-michael schneider
Keywords: mecklenburg-schwerin | grand duke | grand duchess | duke | quartered | banner of arms | bull(head) | griffin | cross(white) | coronet | arm | panel(white) | oval(white) |
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[Mecklenburg (Germany)] image by M. Schmöger, 28 Sep 2001 See also:

Introduction

The princely seat of Albrecht II Duke of Mecklenburg (c. 1318 - 18 February 1379) was located in Schwerin beginning in the 1350s.
Albrecht was born in Schwerin as the eldest surviving son of Lord Heinrich II of Mecklenburg (c. 1266-1329). He succeeded his father as reigning Prince (or Lord) of Mecklenburg in 1329, until 1336 under guardianship. On 10 April 1336, Albrecht married a kinswoman, the Scandinavian heiress Euphemia of Sweden and Norway.
The Holy Roman Emperor Karl IV elevated Mecklenburg to the status of a duchy on 8 July 1348, through which Albrecht, together with his younger brother Johann I, became the first Dukes of Mecklenburg as reward for a dependable ally. On 25 November 1352 the country was divided. Albrecht gained the Lordship of Rostock and the core area of the former Lordship of Mecklenburg, his brother gained Lübz and Sternberg. After three wars against neighbours he gained control over the County of Schwerin in 1358 and became legal successor of the counts.
He established his son Albrecht III of Mecklenburg as Swedish king. But his plans to establish his dynasty permanently failed. In the end he caused a long civil war in Sweden (1363 - 1371) and his son was defeated by the Danish and Norwegian Queen Margrete I, who estbalished the Kalmar Union. Despite of his futile attempts of expansion in Scandinavia at least he was able to enforce the public peace in his own duchy. His son Albrecht III died in 1412 and was buried in Doberan Monastery.


Standards of Duke Albrecht II (1348 - 1379)

The first three pennants are on the frontpage of "Reimchronik of Ernst of Kirchberg" from 1378, which is a chronicle written in rhymes. Albrecht II holds three pennants sitting opposite to his son Albrecht III, who holds a blue pennant charged at hoist with the three crowns of Sweden.

Standard of the Lordship of Mecklenburg

[Standard of the Lordship of Mecklenburg] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Ivan Sache, 27 May 2020

It was a yellow pennant with the bulls' head of Mecklenburg at hoist, unusually armed Sable.

Standard of the Lordship of Rostock

[Standard of the Lordship of Rostock] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Ivan Sache, 27 May 2020

It was a blue pennant with a vertical griffin passant Or at hoist.

Standard of the County of Schwerin

[Standard of the County of Schwerin] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Ivan Sache, 27 May 2020

It was a pennant horizontally divided of red over yellow.

Sources for these three standards:
1) Hans Horstmann: "Vor- und Frühgeschichte des europäischen Flaggenwesens", Bremen 1971, p.144
2) Norbert Buske: "Wappen, Farben und Hymnen des Landes Mecklenburg-Vorpommern", Bremen 1993, p.99
3) Hans-Heinz Schütt: "Auf Schild und Flagge", Schwerin 2011, p.46
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 May 2020

Other Standard of the Lordship of Mecklenburg

[Other Standard of the Lordship of Mecklenburg] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Ivan Sache, 27 May 2020

It was a long yellow pennant, like a streamer, with the bulls' head of Mecklenburg at hoist probably based on the same pennant as depicted above.
Source: canvas in Schwerin Castle displaying Duke Albrecht II
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 May 2020


Standard of Duke Albrecht III (1364/1384 - 1412)

[Standard of Duke Albrecht III (Mecklenburg)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Ivan Sache, 27 May 2020

Albrecht III became King of Sweden in 1364 and reigning Duke of Mecklenburg in 1384.
The flag is a banner of arms with a red tail (German: Schwenkel) of half height from the top flyend.
The square displaying the arms is quarterly divided. Above right Azure three crowns Or ordered 2:1, above left Or a bull's head Sable armed Argent and tongued Gules, beneath right per fess of Gules and Or, beneath left Azure a griffin rampant Or.
These arms unite the arms of Sweden, Mecklenburg proper, Schwerin and Rostock.
Source: canvas in Schwerin Castle displaying Duke Albrecht III
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 May 2020


Standard of Duke Albrecht IV (1383 - 1388)

[Standard of Duke Albrecht IV (Mecklenburg)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Ivan Sache, 27 May 2020

The flag is a banner of arms with a red tail (German: Schwenkel) of half height from the top flyend.
The square displaying the arms is parted per fess, above parted per pale, at dexter Or a bull's head Sable armed Argent and tongued Gules, at sinister parted per fess of Gules and Or, beneath Azure a griffin rampant Or.
After the defeat of his father in the Swedish civil war the arms of Sweden had been removed.
Source: canvas in Schwerin Castle displaying Duke Albrecht III
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 27 May 2020


Standard of Duke Magnus II and Duke Heinrich V (1477 - 1552)

[Standard of Dukes Magnus II and Heinrich V (Mecklenburg)] image by Klaus-Michael Schneider and Ivan Sache, 1 June 2020

Magnus II (1477 - 1503) was the last ruler of an undivided Mecklenburg. His son Heinrich V the Peaceful (1503 - 1552) was forced by his brother Albrecht VII to divide the country. Heinrich gained Mecklenburg-Schwerin in the West and Albrecht Mecklenburg-Güstrow in the East. The partition was however an equivalent of a gavelkind based on income and common institutions of both parts always remained. The use of his father's flag by Heinrich V stresses his opposition to any plans to divide the country.
The flags of both dukes were basically the same. It was a banner of arms with a yellow tail (German: Schwenkel) bound by a knot at its end. The 1st quarter was Or a bull's head caboshed Sable, crowned Or, armed Sable and tongued Gules with torn neck pelt, representing Mecklenburg proper. The 2nd quarter was Azure a griffin rampant Or representing the Lordship of Rostock. The 3rd quarter was Gules a woman's arm Argent dressed of the same holding an annulet Or, representing the Lordship of Stargard. The 4th quarter was Or, a bull's head Sable (not caboshed); crowned Or and tongued Gules, representing the Lordship of Werle. In centre was an inescutcheon parted per fess of Or over Gules, representing the County of Schwerin (former versions displayed the arms Gules over Or instead).
Sources: Hans-Heinz Schütt: "Auf Schild und Flagge" , Schwerin 2011, p.53 and Norbert Buske: "Wappen, Farben und Hymnen des Landes Mecklenburg-Vorpommern", Bremen 1993, frontpage cover
Klaus-Michael Schneider, 1 June 2020


Standard of Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin

[Standard of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Ashore c.1897-1918] 4:5 image by Theo van der Zalm modified by Santiago Dotor, 15 June 2001

  • inescutcheon parted per fess of red over yellow (County of Schwerin);
  • field 1: Or a bull's head caboshed sable, crowned Or, armed Argent, tongued Gules with torn off neck pelt (Principality of Mecklenburg);
  • field 2: Azure a griffin passant Or (Lordship of Rostock);
  • field 3: parted per fess, above Azure a griffin passant Or, beneath Vert with orle Argent (Bishopric later Principality of Schwerin);
  • field 4: Gules a cross Argent topped by a coronet Or (Bishopric later Principality of Ratzeburg);
  • field 5: Gules a woman's arm Argent holding an annulet Or (Lordship of Stargard);
  • field 6: Or a bull's head caboshed Sable in bend sinister crowned Or, tongued Gules (Lordship of Werle later Principality of Wenden).

This banner of arms was used between 1897 or 1900 until 1918. Although this was more or less the coat of arms of both grand duchies, it was used as the Grand Duke's flag only ashore in Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Alfred Znamierowski labels this flag "Grand Duke of Mecklenburg 1900-1918". According to Hugo Gerard Ströhl and Ottfried Neubecker the banner-of-arms has the proportions 4:5. Mecklenburg-Strelitz used a different flag. In use from before 1870 until 1918.
Sources: Znamierowski 1999, Ströhl 1897 and Neubecker 1933
Norman Martin, 3 Mar 1998; Santiago Dotor, 28 Sep 2000 and Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001


Standard of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Afloat c.1878

[Standard of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Afloat c.1878 / Standard of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz c.1897-1918 (Germany)] 2:3 image by Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001

According to Siebmacher 1878, the grand ducal house of Schwerin used a flag of 3.75 m × 5.625 m with the middle arms on a white square (sides 1.75 m) in the middle.

The middle arms show the shield of Mecklenburg as arranged in the seventeenth century. The county of Schwerin in the central inescutcheon and in the quarters Mecklenburg (oxhead with hide), Rostock (griffin), principality of Schwerin (griffin and green rectangle), Ratzeburg (crowned cross), Stargard (hand holding ring) and Wenden (oxhead). The shield has a bull and a griffin as supporters and bears a royal crown.

Ströhl 1897 and Neubecker 1933 show another arrangement (...) and assign the former Schwerin standard with the white panel to the grand duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz.

Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001

This flag is similar to the standard of the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz until 1918 but also similar to the Mecklenburg-Schwerin Grand Duke's Ensign reported c.1834.

Santiago Dotor, 21 June 2001

Siebmacher 1878 actually gives 3.75 m × 5.625 m (i.e. ratio 2:3) with the arms on a rectangular white panel as high as 7/15 of the hoist (1.75 m) and as long as 8/15 of the hoist (2 m).

Santiago Dotor, 10 June 2002


Grand Duke's Ensign reported c.1834

[Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Ensign c.1834 (Germany)] 2:3 image by Jaume Ollé, 27 Sep 1998

Großherzogtum Mecklenburg-Schwerinsche Staatsflagge, gefuhrt auf den Großherzoglichen Jachten und Schiffen, wenn der Großherzog und weitere Mitglieder der fürstlichen Familie an Bord sind (dated c. 1834). [State Ensign of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, flown by the grand ducal yachts and ships when the Grand Duke and other members of the ducal family are on board.]

Jaume Ollé, 27 Sep 1998, translated by Santiago Dotor, 28 Sep 2000

Ströhl 1897 also mentions a special sea flag for the grand ducal house, blue-white-red with the middle arms in the white stripe [without any white panel going into the blue and red stripes].

Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001

Possible variant

[Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin Ensign 1834 variant (Germany)] 2:3 image by Jaume Ollé, 27 Sep 1998

Standard of Grand Duchess Alexandra c.1904-1918, born Princess of Hannover

[Standard of Grand Duchess Alexandra c.1904-1918 (Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany)] 2:3 image by Theo van der Zalm modified by Santiago Dotor, 15 June 2001

The sinister escutcheon is the post-1837 arms of Hannover — the British arms with the Hannover arms on the inescutcheon.
Grand Duchess Alexandra was born Royal Princess of Hanover, Great Britain and Ireland, Duchess of Brunswick and Lüneburg, born Gmünden, Austria, 29 September 1882, the daughter of Ernst August II, Crown Prince of Hanover, Duke of Cumberland, Prince of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick and Lüneburg and Princess Thyra of Denmark. She married Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV of Mecklenburg-Schwerin 7 June 1904 and was his consort until his abdication 14 November 1918. They continued in their marriage until his death 17 November 1945. She died 30 August 1963.
Norman Martin, 6 Oct 2000

Neubecker 1933 shows a standard for grand duchess Alexandra of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, princess of Hannover (1882-1963), showing her shield and that of Mecklenburg joined by the order of the Wendic Crown in a white oval. At sea the yellow stripe on her flag was of course white.
Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001

The title of Duke of Cumberland was taken away in 1917. Under the British Titles of Enemy Princes Act, Karl Edward of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, grandson of Queen Victoria, lost his title of Duke of Albany. The British Royal House changed its name to Windsor. In all four peers who supported Germany or Austria-Hungary lost their titles. Before 1917 the "enemy princes" were listed as members of the House of Lords!


David Cox, 9 Aug 2001


Standard of the Dukes c.1900-1918

[Standard of the Dukes c.1900-1918 (Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany)] 1:1     
by Theo van der Zalm
modified by Santiago Dotor
[Standard of the Dukes c.1900-1918 (Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany)] 1:1
by Jaume Ollé
 

According to Neubecker 1933 the Princes (Dukes) of Mecklenburg-Schwerin had their own standard, showing the griffin of Rostock.
Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001


Standard for other Members of the Grand Ducal Family

Ströhl 1897 mentions a blue-yellow-red flag for the grand ducal house by law of 23 December 1863 with the middle arms in the yellow band [which he does not illustrate because it has not yet been used]. He also mentions a special sea flag, the same but with a white middle stripe.
Theo van der Zalm, 15 June 2001


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