A Royal Contribution

Category: Collect

A Royal Contribution

In 2022, Her Majesty The Queen reaches another remarkable milestone, as she becomes the first British monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee. The Royal Mint has struck every United Kingdom coin of Her Majesty’s reign and to celebrate this historic occasion, we are releasing one of our largest coin collections to date, with packaging created in collaboration with Professor Kate Williams. Here, the royal historian and author shares her thoughts on The Queen and her remarkable reign.

“‘… my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service,’ said The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, on her 21st birthday.

“On 8 May 1945, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret went out onto the streets of London to celebrate the end of the Second World War. As The Queen later said, ‘I remember lines of unknown people linking arms and walking down Whitehall, all of us just swept along on a tide of happiness and relief.’ The heir to the throne, then 19, dressed in her uniform – that of the ATS, the Auxiliary Territorial Service – danced in the streets with the joyous public and cheered on Pall Mall for the appearance of the king and queen – her parents – on the balcony of Buckingham Palace. Within seven years of that joyous day, the king had passed away and Princess Elizabeth was queen, at 25 years old.

“… Queen Elizabeth II was born in April 1926 to the Duke of York, known as Bertie, and his wife Elizabeth, Duchess of York, only a few years after suffragettes had secured the vote for women over the age of 30 and only eight years after the end of the First World War. When she was just three years old, the bubble of investment and spending burst with the Wall Street Crash and Britain, America and much of the world were plunged into the Great Depression. Princess Elizabeth’s childhood was largely untouched – her parents cherished her and the family lived in a large townhouse in Piccadilly, visiting Windsor often, where she learned to ride. She was an object of fascination and when her parents toured Australia and New Zealand when she was just a toddler, they were swamped with toys for the princess. As the child of the king’s second son, she was destined for marriage not the throne.

A Royal Contribution

“In January 1936, George V died and his eldest son – the Prince of Wales – became Edward VIII. In early December of that year, the king announced he was abdicating to marry the divorcee Mrs Wallis Simpson. Princess Elizabeth’s father, who had always preferred to be in the background, became King George VI. At the age of ten, Princess Elizabeth was suddenly first in line to the throne.

“In 1947, two years after celebrating VE Day with the crowds outside Buckingham Palace, Princess Elizabeth married Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark in Westminster Abbey, wearing a dress festooned with imagery of spring and rebirth. The wedding was greeted with an outpouring of excitement – engagement gifts by the dozen were sent by heads of state and the public alike. The young couple settled in Clarence House and had their first two children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

“In February 1952, the royal couple was travelling in Kenya, spending time at a treehouse lodge over an animal watering hole. On the morning of the sixth, her father passed away. Buckingham Palace sent the announcement to the princess and thought it had been received but it had not. Instead, her private secretary heard the news from a journalist and Prince Philip had to tell his wife that her father had died and she was now queen. They returned to Britain and The Queen took the position as monarch of the United Kingdom.

“… The Queen is a great-great-grandchild of Queen Victoria and related to the Tudor and Stuart monarchs but she reigns not rules. As she said in 1957, the role of a monarch had changed:

‘I cannot lead you into battle, I do not give you laws or administer justice but I can do something else, I can give you my heart and my devotion to these old islands and to all the peoples of our brotherhood of nations.’

A Royal Contribution

“Throughout her reign, The Queen has dedicated herself to creating and fostering unity in the United Kingdom and Commonwealth. At the start of her reign, the television was a new invention gaining momentum in the post-war world and Her Majesty was an ‘early adopter’, determined to use this new medium to enhance her popularity. Her coronation in 1953 was televised to a fascinated nation, many of whom crowded around neighbours’ newly bought sets, and footage was rushed overseas. Around 27 million people watched in the United Kingdom, on private televisions or in pubs and cinemas, and 11 million listened on the radio. Her father had started the tradition of a Christmas message on the radio and in 1957, she gave her first Christmas message on television. The Queen declared the day a ‘landmark’ and said, ‘I very much hope that this new medium will make my Christmas message more personal and direct.’

“… As well as television, one of the most significant inventions to have an impact on society during The Queen’s reign has been air travel. The Queen is the most travelled monarch in history and if you add all of her journeys together, she would have been around the world more than 42 times. Shortly after the coronation, she went on an extensive tour of the Commonwealth, covering more than 40,000 miles. The Queen views her public role as essential and, as she once put it, she must be ‘seen to be believed’. Travel, visits, speeches, opening buildings, planting trees and cutting cakes – she knows how important her visits are to those who welcome her.

“… Queen Elizabeth II’s reign has seen the UK change in many ways … Through it all, she has remained the young woman who pledged her service on her 21st birthday in 1947, who served the war effort as a driver and mechanic, and was told she was queen in 1952 at the age of 25. The Queen is the longest-reigning monarch in British history and one of only four across the history of the world who has reigned for 70 years.

“The Queen has dedicated herself to Crown and country, through good times and bad. For her, monarchy is a duty, a God-given role and a commitment above all others.

“… As we celebrate her seventieth year on the throne, we pay tribute to her dedication and service and how, since coming to the throne in 1952, she has given the country and the world her most precious gifts – her ‘devotion to these old islands’ and as she says, ‘my heart’.”

Professor Kate Williams

HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN’S COINAGE PORTRAITS

Find out more
HER MAJESTY THE QUEEN’S COINAGE PORTRAITS

JUBILEES THROUGH THE AGES

Find out more
JUBILEES THROUGH THE AGES

WIN A PLATINUM JUBILEE COIN

Find out more
WIN A PLATINUM JUBILEE COIN

BEHIND THE DESIGNS WITH JOHN BERGDAHL

Find out more
BEHIND THE DESIGNS WITH JOHN BERGDAHL

BEHIND THE DESIGN WITH OSBORNE ROSS

Find out more
BEHIND THE DESIGN WITH OSBORNE ROSS
Feefo logo