There is some evidence that a similar saltire was occasionally used to represent Ireland before this.

It is often suggested that it derives from the arms of the powerful Geraldine or Fitz Gerald dynasty.

She said: "I would have thought that in the National Library of Scotland, they would have understood the place the saltire has in Scottish hearts as one of the oldest national symbols in existence." Scottish Conservative leader Annabel Goldie blamed Alex Salmond, saying: "Incidents like this are happening because Alex has politicised the saltire.

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The red saltire's association with Saint Patrick dates from the 1780s, when the Order of Saint Patrick adopted it as an emblem.

This was a British chivalric order established in 1783 by George III.

Joining them are ‘vomit face’, a Tyrannosaurus Rex emoji and a hedgehog, among others.

According to Emojipedia founder Jeremy Burge, the three most requested emoji were bearded man, woman wearing a hijab and giraffe.

The saltire has occasionally served unofficially to represent Northern Ireland and been considered less contentious than other flags flown there.

"That this was an Englishe and not an Irishe action, and the colours contended for the fflagg of St George and not of St Patericke, which hee intimated to himselfe being a Baron of England much auntient to my Lord Cromwell (whoe alsoe is a Baron of that Realme) to bee more proper and worthie to carry then anie Irish Viscount whatsoever" And the said Badge shall be of Gold surrounded with a Wreath of Shamrock or Trefoil, within which shall be a Circle of Gold, containing the Motto of our said Order in Letters of Gold Viz. together with the date 1783, being the year in which our said Order was founded, and encircling the Cross of St Patrick Gules, surmounted with a Trefoil Vert each of its leaves charged with an Imperial Crown Or upon a field of Argent.The use of a saltire in association with St Patrick was controversial because it differed from the usual crosses by custom worn on St Patrick's Day.In particular, the previous crosses associated with Saint Patrick were not X-shaped.Academic Peter Lynch, who wrote a history of nationalism in Scotland, said: "This tells you that some people are a bit uneasy about the saltire as a symbol, but I find it hard to see why.It is not like the union flag, which has connotations of Northern Ireland and the Democratic Unionist Party.Asked at a press conference about the removal of the Saltire, Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: 'Perhaps we should reflect and wonder what the response might be if this story was in reverse and the Union Jack was removed from packaging because of complaints in Scotland.