The Duke of Edinburgh’s record of service includes a long association with The Royal Mint. He served as President of The Royal Mint Advisory Committee (RMAC) for 47 years, between 1952 and 1999. Every United Kingdom coin and medal struck by The Royal Mint over this time was assessed and approved by the committee he chaired.
1. The Mary Gillick portrait of Her Majesty The Queen for the first coins of her reign
It is fitting that one of Prince Philip’s first roles in his capacity as President of The Royal Mint Advisory Committee was to oversee the development of a new coinage portrait for Her Majesty The Queen. This youthful and graceful depiction of The Queen by Mary Gillick first appeared in 1953 and is still used today on Maundy Money.
2. The Coronation Medal
The official medal to celebrate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II was designed by Cecil Thomas. Generally, coronation medals do not have an edge inscription but 37 of the medals issued in 1953 provide an exception to this. Those presented to the successful expedition to climb Mount Everest bore the inscription ‘MOUNT EVEREST EXPEDITION’ on the special command of The Queen.
3. The Machin portrait of The Queen for coins introduced at decimalisation
The first time that Arnold Machin OBE, RA worked on coin designs was as part of the competition for obverse and reverse designs for the new decimal coinage. His initial model for the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II was well liked by the RMAC, with the pose being considered ‘novel and attractive’ and having more movement than the others which had been submitted. After several sittings with The Queen, Machin’s design was approved at a meeting of the Committee in April 1964, with Prince Philip wishing it to be noted in the minutes that Machin should be ‘heartily congratulated on his work’.
4. The Silver Jubilee Crown
After the success of the decimal coinage portrait of The Queen, Machin was approached to submit designs for the Silver Jubilee Crown of 1977. He created the designs for both sides of the coin and the design chosen by the Committee for the obverse depicted an equestrian portrait of The Queen. Initially, there were concerns that it was too soon for another equestrian portrait of The Queen but Prince Philip considered the design to be sufficiently different to that which had appeared in 1953.
5. A 1983 round £1 coin
At the start of the 1980s, a decision was taken to replace the £1 banknote with a £1 coin. As President of the Committee, Prince Philip oversaw the introduction of the first new £1 coin since the Sovereign. The final specification, a gold-coloured piece of 22.5 millimetres, was chosen so the coin was a similar colour and diameter to its iconic predecessor.
6. Conspicuous Gallantry Cross (1990s)
The Conspicuous Gallantry Cross was instituted in 1993 and, like all new United Kingdom official medals, went before the RMAC. Initial early trial pieces show a very thin medal but Prince Philip felt that the medal did not reflect the acts of bravery for which it was to be awarded. In order to reflect this, the final piece was made much thicker and more substantial.