As the countdown officially began in preparations for the Platinum Jubilee of HM Queen Elizabeth II, which will be celebrated throughout 2022, the Royal Mint paid tribute to Britain’s and the world’s longest-reigning monarch with an illuminated light display. With the ancient Tower of London as a backdrop, the long history of Elizabethan coinage was prominently displayed on the Tower’s walls — once the ancestral home of the Royal Mint for centuries.
The celebration entitled “95 Years of Heart and Devotion” on behalf of the nation is inspired by this year’s royal commemorative crowns that were released earlier this year. The inscription on the reverse design reads “HEART AND DEVOTION” and was borrowed from the first-ever televised speech delivered by Queen Elizabeth II during Christmas in 1957 in which she expressed her commitment to the nation by touching on the need for courage in times of adversity by stating:
In the old days, the monarch led his soldiers on the battlefield and his leadership at all times was close and personal. Today things are very different. I cannot lead you into battle, I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else, I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.
As part of the celebration, the Royal Mint has given as special gifts 95 of the £5 crown coins to people in the United Kingdom who will also be celebrating their 95th birthday this year.
The London landmark was illuminated for a one-night-only accolade with a spectacular 90-foot-wide projection to celebrate a “Life in Coins.” Ahead of the official milestone birthday celebrated on the 12th June and one year to go until the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday. The celebration was visible across the Thames and featured the five effigies of Her Majesty’s reign, as well as her special 95th birthday £5 crown coin.
The “Life in Coins” illumination also marks the Royal Mint’s longstanding relationship with Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. The Royal Mint struck Queen Elizabeth II’s very first coins in 1953 and since then, many billions of coins have been made bearing now five effigies of Her Majesty the Queen, who still gives her seal of approval to every new coin design.
First Effigy: Designed by Mary Gillick and issued in 1953, The portrait shows the Queen wearing a wreath in the style of many British coins struck between the 17th and early 19th centuries.
Second Effigy: Designed by Arnold Machin and issued in 1968, coins created for decimalisation show the Queen wearing the tiara of festoons, scrolls, and collet spikes, which were given as a wedding present by Queen Mary.
Third Effigy: Designed by Raphael Maklouf and issued in 1985, the design shows the Queen with the royal diadem, which she wears on her way to and from the State Opening of Parliament, and includes a necklace and earrings.
Fourth Effigy: Designed by the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS and issued from 1998, as the five, 10, and 50-pence coins were reduced in size, the portrait filled the field as much as possible depicting a greater degree of realism.
Fifth Effigy: Designed by engraver Jody Clark and issued in 2015, the fifth definitive design shows the Queen with the Royal Diamond Diadem Crown, which she wore for her coronation in 1953.
It is noteworthy to point out coins of one penny, two pence, and 20 pence denominations currently in circulation carry all four effigies since they were issued from decimalisation in 1971 (one and two pence) and from 1982 (first 20-pence coins) to the present.
For additional information about the Queen’s 95th commemorative birthday coins, please visit the Royal Mint’s website.