In this instalment of our ‘Unknown facts’ series, we give you some little known facts of Monaco’s iconic red and white flag. As the second smallest state in the world (after the Vatican), Monaco has been attracting the rich and the famous for over a century. And it famously played out a living fairy tale when it made a princess out of a Hollywood star. It is common knowledge that the Principality is home to many millionaires with a perfect climate and extremely high living standards.
But what isn’t common knowledge is that the flag of Monaco is the oldest in Europe and the House of Grimaldi has reigned since 1297. The flag has two equal, horizontal bands of red and white, the heraldic colours of the Princely Family. The design was adopted in 1881, under Prince Charles III, with red representing the flesh of the human body and white representing the purity of the soul and spiritual life.
Monaco’s national flag is not to be confused with the Indonesian flag, which is nearly identical, however, the proportions and meaning of the colours differ. The government of Monaco did not approve of the Indonesian flag when it was introduced in 1945, and formally asked them to change it. Indonesia ignored the request, claiming the colours of the flag pre-dated the Monegasque one to 14th century. Thus, Indonesia managed to keep its national flag.