Britain's second-longest-reigning monarch (surpassed only by her great-great granddaughter, Her Majesty The Queen), Queen Victoria is also one of its most influential. Even 200 years after her birth, the effect of her reign and the era to which she lends her name can be felt strongly in everyday life. The Victorian era was a time of rapid and dramatic expansion and development in the United Kingdom, an era of exciting change and technological advancement. Britain’s influence was at its height and trade over vast areas demanded new ways of communication and travel. Steamships, long-distance train travel, transatlantic telegraphs and even the first telephones were all major facets of her era.
As a monarch, Queen Victoria saw more powers shifted to Parliament, her role becoming increasingly ceremonial. As the head of a large family, she took to the role well, taking steps to become more accessible to the British public – sharing photographs of herself and her family and touring the country (and beyond) with her husband, Prince Albert. Many historians credit her openness with helping to preserve the monarchy in a time of such dramatic change. The ceremonial style of events like Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee (1887) and Diamond Jubilee (1897) are credited with establishing the image of the monarchy that we know today.
Coinage artist John Bergdahl carries a wealth of experience in having designed coins for The Royal Mint with the themes of royal celebrations, military commemorations and important British anniversaries. The design depicts the popular coinage portrait of Queen Victoria, known as the 'young head' portrait by collectors.
The queen is surrounded by innovations of the Victorian age, symbolising progress, change and advancement. The design is also embellished with cogs – a nod to an age with an industrial pedigree.