Some tartans are reserved for the
exclusive use of members of the royal family or of a particular individual
for whom they were designed. There is no "tartan police" but to avoid possible
embarrassment one should avoid wearing one of these tartans. Most of these
tartans (e.g., Balmoral) are not available for purchase by the public, but
there is one that is available: the Royal Stewart.
The Royal Stewart is probably the most abused tartan there is. The red Royal Stewart is seen everywhere and on everything, particularly clothing, wrapping paper and ribbon. Many people equate this tartan with Scotland as a whole,
but it is not. Legally it belongs to the Queen and only she can grant permission to wear it. However, this has not prevented weaving mills in Scotland from producing and selling Royal Stewart to anyone who wishes to buy it. Indeed, it has become so commercialized that it has almost totally lost its status as a royal
tartan. However, the Royal Stewart is not a Clan Stewart tartan and wearing it as such is not appropriate.
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