The Original Maker of UK coins illuminated the London landmark with a spectacular 90ft projection to celebrate a ‘Life in Coins’. Ahead of the milestone birthday on 12 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 coin.
The ‘Life in Coins’ illumination marks The Royal Mint’s longstanding relationship with Britain’s longest-reigning monarch. The Royal Mint struck Elizabeth II’s first coins – ‘a portrait of the young monarch’ – in 1953. Since then many billions of coins have been made bearing Her Majesty’s effigy, and The Queen still gives her seal of approval to every new coin design.
A ‘Life in Coins’ – The Royal Mint’s UK coins featured in the illumination:
- 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, designed by Mary Gillick.
- Issued in 1968: Coins created for decimalisations show The Queen wearing the tiara of festoons, scrolls and collet-spikes which were given as a wedding present by Queen Mary, designed by Arnold Machin.
- 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, designed by Raphael Maklouf.
- Issued in 1998: As the coins become smaller, the portrait filled the field as much as possible depicting a greater degree of realism, designed by the sculptor Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS.
- Issued in 2015: The latest design shows The Queen with the Royal Diamond Diadem Crown, which she wore for her Coronation in 1953, designed by Jody Clark.
The illumination culminated with the special 95th birthday coin issued by The Royal Mint earlier this year. The design bears the inscription ‘My Heart and My Devotion’ – referencing a promise The Queen made in her 1957 Christmas speech, and has kept ever since. As part of the celebration, The Royal Mint has gifted 95 of these coins to people turning 95 this year.
Clare Maclennan, Divisional Director of Commemorative Coin at The Royal Mint, said: “During a remarkable reign, Queen Elizabeth II has graced every UK coin in the nation’s pocket – documenting a life of ‘heart and devotion’ to the public. Ahead of The Queen’s landmark 95th birthday, we wanted to share a special message on behalf of the nation – celebrating her life through her coins. It seemed especially fitting to illuminate the Tower of London, where the Royal Mint originally began making coins for British monarchs 1,100 years ago.”
For more information, and the full range of official UK coins commemorating Her Majesty The Queen, please visit The Royal Mint’s website