Queen Elizabeth II, A Portrait History.

There are five official coinage portraits of Queen Elizabeth II. Join us as we explore the details of all five portraits, and the life of Queen Elizabeth II.

The first portrait is sometimes called the Coronation portrait. It was produced in 1953, following her June 2nd coronation. At the time, Elizabeth II was only twenty-seven years old. She was married to her lifelong partner, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, and had two children, Charles and Anne. When they watched their mother rise to the crown, still mourning their grandfather, they were only five and three years old.

The second portrait was minted in 1968. The reason for the second portrait was to mint new coins using the decimal system rather than the fractional system. By this time Elizabeth had had two more children, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. She was taking a more active role in government. She opened the Parliament in Canada, and had recently appointed a Prime Minister in London. The Crown still holds the power to appoint a Prime Minister but Elizabeth II did not use it more than this one time, opting instead to uphold the will of the people through the election process.

The third portrait was created in 1985. Queen Elizabeth II’s eldest, Charles, was married to Princess Diana Spencer, who delivered two grandsons into the world; Prince William and Prince Harry. Elizabeth II’s daughter Anne also had two children, Peter and Zara. The Queen was a grandmother, four times over. During the 1970s the move to decolonize continued, and many former British holdings gained Independence. Acting as head of state with grace and dignity during the numerous and difficult transitions was a priority for the Queen.

In 1998, the fourth portrait was commissioned. Artist Ian Rank-Broadley created a dignified profile of the Queen, who was then 72 years old and determined to continue her life on an upward trajectory. Since her last portrait, the Queen survived her annus horribilis, the horrible year 1992. Her self-described worst year just goes to show that even royalty has to grow through bad years. 1992 was difficult for the Queen in part because her children and extended family faced marital problems. To make matters worse, when the Queen was in Germany protesters threw eggs at her. Sometimes life is hard, even for Queens.

Jody Clark designed the fifth and final portrait in 2015: The Queen was 89 years old. Since her previous portrait, she had celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, her Sapphire Wedding Anniversary, and opened the 2012 Olympic Festivities. She made a pretty good comeback after her annus horribilis.

Thank you for joining us today for a tour of Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait history.

See you next time on Pendant and Ring!

queen elizabeth ii coins

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