27/09/2018
Share this story Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

History of the Royal Stewart tartan

3bfa977f-c798-4f3b-9556-b2cfa8252099

A brief history of the Royal Stewart tartan, the world’s most popular tartan, which is one of the tartans that can be worn by anyone, in the absence of a specific clan tartan.

The distinctive red and green overtones of the Royal Stewart tartan are recognisable the world over and the Scottish Register of Tartans reports that this is the most popular tartan ever woven.

An early reference to the Royal Stewart tartan appeared in The Clan and Family Tartans of Scotland by W and A Smith, published in 1850. They wrote:

The Stuart tartan here given is that for which many years has been universally believed in Scotland to be the Tartan worn by our Scottish Sovereigns. Sometimes it is woven with a small stripe of green, bisecting the broad red belt; but we know that this green stripe is a modern innovation, and therefore we exclude it having the best authority for doing so.

The distinctive Royal Stewart pattern was published in The Scottish Gael by James Logan in 1831, but the tartan may well have been worn before then, indeed there are reports that it was born at the Battle of Culloden in 1746. Read more about Bonnie Prince Charlie and Culloden here.

Variants of the Royal Stewart tartan

There are several variants of the Royal Stewart tartan:

  • Old Stewart
  • Dress Stewart
  • Hunting Stewart
  • Black Stewart

Can I wear the Royal Stewart tartan?

The Royal Stewart is a tartan of the Royal House of Stewart and personal tartan of the Queen. It is also worn by pipers of the Scots Guard, the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards and the Black Watch. Although officially, the Royal Stewart tartan can only be worn with the permission of the Queen, its huge popularity means that it has been adopted by anyone who doesn’t have their own tartan.

QUICK LINK: What tartan can I wear?

Back to "Scottish clans" Category

27/09/2018 Share this story   Share on Facebook icon Share on Twitter icon Share on Pinterest icon Share on Google Plus icon Share on Linked In icon Share via Email icon

Recent Updates

Geologist James Hutton died - On this day in history

Geologist James Hutton, who carried out pioneering studies into the formation of the earth, died on 26 March ...


Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust celebrates royal patronage

His Royal Highness Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, has agreed to take on the patronage of the ...


Robert the Bruce was crowned at Scone - On this day in history

On 25 March 1306, Robert the Bruce was crowned King of Scots at Scone. ...


Princess Louise: The career of a royal artist, part 4

In part 4 of our history series based on new research on the life of Princess Louise, daughter of Queen ...


Other Articles

King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England - On this day in history

On 24 March 1603, King James VI of Scotland also became King James I of England, on the death of Queen ...


Reverend Thomas Burns founded his Free Church settlement in New Zealand - On this day in history

On 23 March 1848, Reverend Thomas Burns founded the Free Church Settlement in New Zealand, which later became ...


Architect Alexander Greek Thomson died - On this day in history

Architect Alexander 'Greek' Thomson died on 22 March 1875 in Glasgow.


The Murrayfield Stadium was opened - On this day in history

Edinburgh's Murrayfield Stadium was opened on 21 March 1925.