New Military Coins from The Royal Mint
New Military Coins from The Royal Mint

Behind the Design: the 75th Birthday of His Majesty King Charles III

Celebrating a 75th birthday during the same year as a historic coronation called for a special coin to be struck in tribute to His Majesty The King. The Royal Mint marked several of His Majesty’s birthdays during his time as The Prince of Wales, including his 50th, 60th and 70th birthdays, but this is the first time we have commemorated his birthday on a coin since he became the British monarch.

Having previously designed coins celebrating Britannia and Disney’s Winnie the Pooh, Dan Thorne, a product designer at The Royal Mint, has created a stunning tribute to His Majesty, blending heraldry and royal symbolism with elements of the natural world. We caught up with Dan to talk about his inspiration and creative process for designing the milestone birthday coin.

After receiving the submission invite, what were you most looking forward to about this project?

“The brief for the project was really interesting; to celebrate His Majesty’s 75th birthday without using his portrait. This was a good chance to create something a bit different from what we’ve seen before.”

How did it feel when you found out that your design had been chosen to feature on the coin?

“I was chuffed! I am normally my worst critic, but I liked how my design looked and thoroughly enjoyed the first-stage drawing. I was also really looking forward to having the chance to sculpt the relief for this design.”

How did you approach the initial design concept?

“I began with research into the many charities and causes that His Majesty is affiliated with. I liked the idea of celebrating his birthday with these themes; kind of like making a portrait of a man based on his values instead of using his face and physical features. This design is therefore based on the work that The King does to promote sustainability, as well as his love of nature and craft.”

Could you talk us through the process that led you to the final design?

“King Charles III is a patron to many wildlife conservation charities and organisations; he also champions sustainability and growth in our natural ecosystem and business sectors. In one of his statements, he talks about the importance of restoring the balance of nature, so the inspiration behind this design is based on that ideal.

“I framed His Majesty’s royal cypher and the number 75 within oak leaves and delphiniums. The oak leaves represent strength, morale, resistance and knowledge, and his favourite garden flower – the delphinium – shows his connection with the environment and sustainability. The number 75 was hand drawn and modelled as a stone-cut effect to represent The King’s support of the crafts.”

Were there any challenges you faced in creating the design?

“I’d say the only challenges were that of having all the elements flow nicely without having the design looking overcrowded. I still wanted the design to look naturalistic and not too regimented, so the challenge came from balancing the whole design.”

What was your journey to becoming a designer?

“I’ve always loved art and design and after graduating with an illustration degree I also got into sculpture. I thought coin design would be a perfect marriage in that respect, and it really is! My family are from the local area and my grandfather worked at The Royal Mint for the majority of his life, so I already knew it was a good place to work.”

You currently have several impressive coin designs under your belt; is there a coin that you would love to design in the future?

“I have some exciting projects in the works currently that I can’t mention, but as for anything in the future, I’m not really sure. I’m honestly happy to work on anything that comes my way! I always really enjoy themes similar to His Majesty’s 75th birthday coin; anything I can do that revolves around nature and animals is always a blast to work on.”

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