Seven Things You May Not Know About Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II is the world’s longest reigning monarch, and one of the most well respected too. Born in 1926 as Elizabeth Alexandra Mary to The Duke and Duchess of York, she grew up in London with her sister, Princess Margaret. Even though the Queen has lived much of her life in the public eye, there’s still plenty you probably didn’t know about Her Royal Majesty…

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Queen Elizabeth II’s 95th Birthday Sovereign Range

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Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrates her 95th birthday this year on April 21st, making her Britain’s oldest reigning monarch. This, together with what has been an incredible 69-year reign so far, makes her quite a remarkable presence and one that Britain will rejoice and celebrate in April this year.

In 1947, Queen Elizabeth II married Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and the couple has four children: Charles, Prince of Wales; Anne, Princess Royal; Prince Andrew, Duke of York; and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. In 1953, Elizabeth was crowned and officially recognized as sovereign. Since then, the Queen has served in her role as the Queen of England, and in 2018, she became the first British monarch to reach a Sapphire Jubilee—a celebration to mark 65 years of her reign.

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The importance of Royal Maundy

Royal Maundy is the tradition of the British Monarch ceremonially distributing small silver coins, known as “Maundy Money”, to elderly recipients. It dates back as far 600 AD and its origins lie in the story of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples after the Last Supper. The word “Maundy” comes from the Latin word “mandatum”, meaning the command that Jesus gave to his disciples to “love one another”.

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George and the Dragon Sovereign Design: Through the Years…

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Over the years, St George has continued to inspire people in many ways, striking a chord particularly with his namesake, King George IV. When George IV wanted to introduce a new coin, he decided on St George as the reverse subject.

The new gold sovereign was then created in 1817, designed by Italian engraver Benedetto Pistrucci. He took a different approach with his design, steering away from those that traditionally featured on coins. Pistrucci created a sense of movement, giving the saint the confidence and control while slaying the wounded dragon.

This coin design has become a classic, and is known across the world as a masterpiece of coin artistry; synonymous with the gold sovereign. In 1821, the classic design was altered and the Italian engraver produced his definitive St George and the dragon design, alongside a new portrait of King George IV.

And although St George and the dragon has graced gold sovereigns for 200 years, not since Pistrucci has the same designer created the artwork for both the monarch’s portrait and St George – until now! A new gold sovereign range has been minted, celebrating the 200th anniversary of the definitive design.

The 2021 George and the Dragon 200th Anniversary Gold Sovereign range features an exciting interpretation by talented artist Jody Clark, creator of the current coinage portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. This also means that for the first time in 200 years, both the monarch’s portrait and the design of St George are the work of the same designer!

You can view the entire George and the Dragon range here.