Symbols of the Office

The Lieutenant Governor's role is entrenched in history and tradition. A part of this are the symbols of the office, such as the flag and the civil uniform.

The Lieutenant Governor's Personal Flag


Lieutenant Governor's Personal Flag



The Lieutenant Governor's personal flag bears the Alberta Shield of Arms circled with ten gold maple leaves and surmounted by a royal crown on a field of blue.

The flag is flown from the roof of the Legislature Building, alongside the Alberta flag, the Canadian flag and the Royal Union flag. When the  flag is displayed at the Legislature it indicates that the Lieutenant Governor is in the Province.

The Governor General of Canada approved the flag, on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen, on September 28th, 1981. While it is sometimes referred to as the Lieutenant Governor's personal standard, this is incorrect in accordance with flag etiquette in Canada.

Guidelines for flying the Lieutenant Governor's flag

The personal flag is flown at Government House when the Lieutenant Governor is present and from the flagpoles of buildings where official duties are carried out. It is not flown inside a building (in a dining hall for example) but rather outside to indicate the presence of the Lieutenant Governor on the premises.

The flag is never flown on or inside a church and never lowered to half-mast. On the death of a Lieutenant Governor, while in office, the flag is taken down until a successor is sworn in.


The Lieutenant Governor's flag has precedence over all other flags in Alberta, including the national flag, with the exception of the Queen's Personal Canadian Flag and the Governor General's Flag. The Queen's Personal Flag or the Governor General's Flag do not displace the Lieutenant Governor's Flag from the Legislature Building or Government House when those dignitaries visit the province. With the Lieutenant Governor being The Queen's Representative, her flag has precedence over that of a member of the Royal Family, other than The Queen.

The Administrator of the Government of the Province is entitled to fly the personal flag when performing the duties of the Office of the Lieutenant Governor.



The Civil Uniform

The Civil Uniform

At one time the Civil Uniform was worn by the Governor General, Lieutenant Governors, the Prime Minister, Premiers, Cabinet Minister, senior civil servants and members of the Vice-Regal Household. Today in Canada the Civil Uniform is almost exclusively worn by a number of Lieutenant Governors and only for special ceremonial events such as the Opening of Session.

The Civil Uniform was worn by Alberta's Lieutenant Governors from 1905 to 1974. From 1987 to 1991, the Honourable Helen Hunley wore a specially designed ceremonial robe in place of a Civil Uniform. In February 2012, Colonel (Ret'd) the Honourable Donald S. Ethell reintroduced the tradition during the last three years of his term in office. His Civil Uniform was acquired from Nova Scotia and was given to Alberta on extended loan. The uniform once belonged to Brigadier Honourable Victor de Bedia Oland who served as Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia from 1968 to 1973.

The style of Civil Uniform currently worn was adopted in 1837, early in the reign of Queen Victoria. Six classes of Civil Uniform exist (Privy Councilor, First Class, Second Class, Third Class, Fourth Class, Fifth Class).  In all six different types of Civil Uniform have been worn in Canada in the past; The Governor General's Civil Uniform, the Full Dress Civil Uniform, the Half Dress Civil Uniform, the Evening Dress Civil Uniform and the Summer Dress Civil Uniform (also known as Tropical Dress).

The Second Class Half Dress Civil Uniform worm by Lieutenant Governor Ethell consisted of a jacket, trousers and a sword & scabbard. The jacket featured gilt buttons bearing the Royal Arms, and the trunk, collar and cuffs of the jacket were elaborately embroidered with oak leaves. The trousers had wire gold lacing displaying oak leaves down each seam. The hat had a row of ostrich plumes along the top seam. A gilt court sword with gold sword knot was worn on the left side. 

For more information on the Civil Uniform as it has been worn in Canada please consult Corinna Pike & Christopher McCreery, Canadian Symbols of Authority; Rods, Maces and Chains of Office (Toronto: Dundurn Press, 2011).