As Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in June 1953, the entrance to Westminster Abbey was guarded by ten fantastical creatures.
In 2017 Queen Elizabeth II reached her Sapphire Jubilee. Find out how The Queen's Beast were brought to life for Her Majesty's coronation more than six decades ago.
As Queen Elizabeth II was crowned in June 1953, the entrance to Westminster Abbey was guarded by ten fantastical creatures. They symbolised her heritage, with each statue representing a royal ancestor that had gone before her. They have watched over Her Majesty through an astonishing reign; from a young woman inheriting the throne at the age of 25 to an experienced monarch 65 years later.
The beasts that lined the entrance to Westminster Abbey on 2 June 1953 were formidable six-feet tall, plaster sculptures created by James Woodford RA. They were unpainted, except for their shields, which featured coats of arms that signified which of The Queen’s ancestors they represented.
After the coronation, the statues were displayed at Hampton Court and then Windsor. Today, The Queen’s Beasts can be found at the Canadian Museum of History in Quebec, where they are now painted with their bright and impressive heraldic colours. Portland stone replicas, also carved by James Woodford, watch over Kew Gardens.
The Royal Mint series
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.