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Mystery over Cornish flag on jubilee boat is solved

By West Briton  |  Posted: June 14, 2012

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THE FIRST glimpse of the royal barge Gloriana leading the jubilee flotilla with a flag of St Piran hoisted high sent shivers of excitement through Cornish nationalists.

But hopes royalty may have recognised the county as a nation by flying it alongside Welsh, Northern Irish, Scottish and English flags have been sunk after it was explained as "innocent" and "nothing constitutional".

Lord Sterling, who organised jubilee celebrations in 2002, was behind the project to create the £1 million gold-leaf covered vessel to lead the Thames pageant.

And as the internet buzzed with rumours of the motive for including the black and white emblem, Jack Bolitho, from pressure group Kernowcalling, said: "I couldn't believe it to be honest. I was shocked because no monarch has flown that flag for more than 500 years.

"It's quite strange."

People asked why the Queen had not flown her own Duchy flag, Lancashire. One explanation was it paid tribute to a Cornish boatbuilder on the project.

But this was dismissed by Mr Bolitho, saying: "The Gloriana was made in London by a company in Richmond.

"I just don't think the Queen would have specially hoisted the St Piran flag for one boat- builder."

Pembrokeshire students also helped build the royal barge, but its county flag was not flown.

Other ideas were floated – was it because Prince Charles, the Duke of Cornwall, is next in line to the throne? Perhaps someone had overstepped the mark and it was being "hushed up", as suggested by Facebook user John Dudding.

But calls by the West Briton to Buckingham Palace, the Diamond Jubilee Pageant, the company representing the Gloriana and the Richmond boatbuilders have revealed the answer.

Master boatbuilder Martin Edwards, whose ancestors the Curnows were boatbuilders from Penzance, said a number of the workforce on the Gloriana were Cornish.

They included himself, painters from Falmouth and a boatbuilder known affectionately to the team as "Cornish Malcolm".

Mr Edwards said: "It had been a subject of amusement all along the construction.

"We very diplomatically worked on it with Lord Sterling and he very kindly granted the purchase of a St Piran's flag and saw that it was flown from one of the flag poles on the Gloriana."

He saw the internet whirlwind the flying of the St Piran's flag created.

"It does not infer anything more than that," Mr Edwards said. "It's not anything constitutional, it's all very innocent."

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  • alansanders  |  June 15 2012, 1:56PM

    There is in fact two serarate Flags for CORNWALL the one being the duke of cornwall flag used by the former county council and now used by the unity council ,15 bezants on a black back ground. The other a NATIONAL FLAG white cross on a black back ground it seems that the NATIONAL one has been used with other NATIONAL FLAGS .Has have been done right through out the WORLD end of story.

  • AC1950  |  June 15 2012, 11:58AM

    The Master Boatbuilder is called MARK EDWARDS and his family are the CURNOWS from Cornwall. I know a fair few of them. This newspaper needs to get its facts right! And there are many more to get right but there has been a great deal of external pressure but on Mark and the others in the team. They are proud to be Cornish. Cornish first and last. Nothing else. And this is what happened and this paper are aware of that fact. The St. Piran's flag was suggested by the builders and their family who felt that Cornwall was just as valid a Country as England or elsewhere and that it why it was flown where it was. The Royal family knew all about this and gave their permission. Prince Charles wrote a forward in a book called 'Kernow Bys Vyken!' back in 2000 and said the future of Cornwall lay in the hands of the young Cornish. And so it has been taken up. Following the controversy after the Thames Pageant, there has been a panic and words have been put in the boy's mouths by higher ups. They have now had to toe the 'party line'. Jobs are valuable these days! This newspaper and all the radio and TV stations are aware of the truth. But they are too afraid to publish it. As I say, jobs are important these days. But plenty know the real truth. Many letters and emails have been posted over this to the press but they have also had to behave. My first and final posting here.

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  • KernowGB  |  June 15 2012, 11:19AM

    "It certainly was an interesting explanation, which either reflects 10/10 for Cornish humour or 10/10 for Royal Stupidity, considering the fact that one presumes that permission must have been sought from HRH. If that were the case, then I would certainly like to know what HRH's thoughts were on it. If she did not know, then it must certainly have sent her into a cold sweat! The selection of flags aligned perfectly to the actual constitutional position and official responsibilities of the Queen as Sovereign. As the senior of the two people that are most 'in the know' about the true constitutional position of Cornwall, and the perpetuation of the lies and deception that maintain the Status Quo, with its evil consequences for the rights and future existence of the Cornish people, then it was an ill-considered swipe at Cornish Rights. One wonders what might have happened if the shipwrights involved were from else where? Why not simply use the associated Company's commercial banner - Was it a Cornish Company? - in the same way as the Motability banner was used? There is also the fact that it has taken so long for this 'briefing' to be made public and not readily available at the time when the procession was being described to the general public by media commentators?"

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  • Big_Ger  |  June 15 2012, 9:06AM

    Nice to see a Cornishman in the Queen's service being honoured in this way. The flying of the county flag is a great tribute to him, and the other Cornishmen who worked on the barge. It certainly was a glorious sight.

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  • Ruddd  |  June 14 2012, 10:45PM

    Cough, *Mark* Edwards not Martin!

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