Tartan Trewsday: The Royal Stewart

October 14, 2014 • Post by:

This is the first instalment of a series that will regularly feature on our blog, and yes, it will be published every Tuesday.

Tartan is associated with Scotland around the world, although the earliest tartan can be traced to central Europe, which can be linked with Celtic populations, but it was not considered to have existed in Scotland before the 16th Century.

There are many different styles of tartans, and these were originally used to distinguish the inhabitants of different regions in Scotland, and later they could even be used to distinguish Scottish clans.

As well as the clan tartans, more tartans were made especially for individuals, families, districts, institutions, and corporations. There are even specific commemorative tartans for various events and certain ethnic groups. Tartan has always been prominent in the military, from the early Highlander regiments in 1600s to today’s military units, like the ones in the Commonwealth.

The first tartan to feature in ‘Tartan Trewsday’ is the Royal Stewart Tartan.

photo 2 copyBW

Widely regarded at the best known tartan, the Royal Stewart is the tartan of the House of Stewart. The Stewart family traces it’s roots from Banquo, Thane of Lochaber, who makes an appearance as a character in one of William Shakespeare’s well known plays, MacBeth.

After moving to Scotland when David I ascended to the throne of Scotland, the family were given large estates in Renfrewshire and East Lothian.

It was also the personal tartan of Queen Elizabeth II. It was considered appropriate for all subjects of the Queen to wear the Royal Stewart tartan, and the same for the clansmen who would wear the tartan of their clan chief.

This tartan is officially worn by the pipers of the The Black Watch (Royal Highland Regiment) of Canada, Royal Scots Dragoon Guards, and the Scots Guards, as well as a few civilian groups.

It can be also be seen in the uniforms of The 5th Bolton Scout Group and the 5th Potters Bar Scout Group wear the scarf, (neckerchief/necker) officially, with permission from the Queen, and the Queen’s Bands (of Queen’s University).

As we have mentioned in a previous blog post, the Royal Stewart tartan became popular in punk fashion in the 1970s. The tartan had also become well known in motor racing circles, with three-time Formula One World Champion, Jackie Stewart, decorating his crash helmet with a band of the Royal Stewart.


The Royal Stewart Tartan is available on the Royal & Plaid website at £60.

Royal & Plaid colour – Red with Blue, Yellow, Green & White Tartan. Created in 1800.

If you have found this post interesting please share it with your online community using the share buttons below, there’s a good chance they will find it interesting too. Thank You.

Leave a Reply