Italian mayor says England owes 250 years of royalties for St George's Cross flag

Jul 11, 2018 1016

The mayor of Genoa has asked the Queen of England for centuries' worth of royalties for the use of St George's Cross, the original symbol of the northern Italian port. "Your Majesty, I regret to inform you that from my books it looks like you didn't pay for the last 247 years," Mayor Marco Bucci said in a lighthearted message addressed to Queen Elizabeth II – in English – in reference to a centuries-old licensing arrangement between Genovese and English sailors.

The red cross on a white ground has flown in England since the Middle Ages, but its association with Genoa is believed to go back longer. There are references to the St George's Cross flying on the city's mighty fleet back when it was an independent republic, founded in the 11th century. Legend has it that the flag struck such fear into Genoa's enemies that the mere sight of it would send them into retreat.

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