Elizabeth II on coins
Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on coins
During her reign coins made in the United Kingdom had a picture of Queen Elizabeth II on one side but did you know that this portrait changed five times during her 70 year reign. Look below to find out more. Which ones can you find on the coins in your money box?
This design shows Queen Elizabeth II as a young woman. It was designed by a lady named Mary Gillick. Rather than wearing a crown Her Majesty was shown wearing a laurel wreath.
The second portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was introduced in 1971 when all the coins were replaced because of Decimalisation. It was designed by Arnold Machin (pronounced May-chin). You can see he replaced the wreath with a tiara but what other changes can you see? How does Her Majesty look different?
The third portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was designed in 1985 by Raphael Maclouf (pronounced Mac-loof). He showed Her Majesty with the royal diadem which she wore on her way to and from the State Opening of Parliament, and includes a necklace and earrings.
The fourth portrait of Queen Elizabeth II showed her getting older. It was designed by Ian Rank-Broadley. By 1998 when it was introduced most coins had become smaller, so the portrait fills a lot of the coins’ surface.
The most recent portrait designed by Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark in 2015 showed Queen Elizabeth II with the Royal Diamond Diadem Crown, which she wore for her Coronation in 1953. He chose this to link his design to the past as it was featured in the designs by both Raphael Maklouf and Arnold Machin.
Did you know?
Queen Elizabeth II faced right on her coins as part of a tradition which has lasted for over 300 years. Each King or Queen faces in the opposite direction to the one before. Her Majesty’s father George VI faced left on his coins so Elizabeth II faced right.