Following the passing of George VI and the subsequent accession of his daughter, who was crowned as Queen Elizabeth II, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh was able to advise and support Her Majesty The Queen as she took on her new responsibilities, including the designs for the new coinage that was required.
One of his first roles in his capacity as President of The Royal Mint Advisory Committee was to oversee the development of a new definitive coinage portrait for The Queen. The selected likeness was by Mary Gillick and it is known that Prince Philip visited the sculptor’s studio as the portrait was worked on.
Gillick’s elegant depiction of The Queen first appeared on coins in 1953 and shows her wearing a wreath in the style of many British coins struck between the seventeenth and early nineteenth centuries. The portrait remained in use on United Kingdom coins until decimalisation and still appears on the special silver coins minted each year for the Royal Maundy.