The Lion of England
The lion is one of the earliest animals to appear in royal emblems; a traditional symbol of bravery, strength and valour. The first recorded use was the gift of a blue shield, decorated with small golden lions, given to Geoffrey Plantagenet by Henry I as he married Henry’s daughter Matilda, in 1127. As long as England has had a shield of its own, it has always featured the lion in some form – the Norman kings of England used motifs featuring the ferocious beast, a tradition made consistent under Henry II and his son Richard I the ‘Lionheart’ in the twelfth century.
The connection to the Queen
The Queen’s Beasts Collection is a series of ten coins from The Royal Mint, inspired by the ancestral beasts of heraldry, myth and legend that have watched over Her Majesty The Queen throughout her extraordinary reign, from her coronation to her Sapphire Jubilee.