A standard-bearer or flag-bearer is a person (soldier or civilian) who bears an emblem called a standard or military Regulation Colours, i.e. either a type of flag or an inflexible but mobile image, which is used (and often honoured) as a formal, visual symbol of a state, prince, military unit, etc.[1]

A standard bearer from No. 7 Company, Coldstream Guards, with its regimental colour

This can either be an occasional duty, often seen as an honour (especially on parade), or a permanent charge (also on the battlefield); the second type has even led in certain cases to this task being reflected in official rank titles such as Ensign, Cornet and Fähnrich. In the context of the Olympic Games, a flagbearer is the athlete who carries the flag of their country during the opening and closing ceremonies.

While at present a purely ceremonial function, in Medieval Warfare the standard-bearer had an important role on the battlefield. It was a honorable position carrying a considerable risk, as a standard-bearer would be a major target for the opposing side's troops seeking to capture the standard or pull it down.

Prominent in the center of this popular print depicting the 1848 "Five Days of Milan", the Italian city's uprising against Austrian rule, is the standard-bearer raising aloft what was then a revolutionary flag and later became the Flag of Italy.
Team USA marches in the parade of athletes around BC Place stadium during the opening Ceremony of the XXI Olympic Winter Games, February 12, 2010, in Vancouver – The standard-bearer is Mark Grimmette
Identifying iconographic elements in an Aztec standard-bearer sculpture

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The regimental system, National Army Museum