Today His Royal Highness Prince Charles celebrates a huge landmark birthday – his 70th!
It seems that his birthday festivities have already begun – back in May, he attended a Buckingham Palace garden party laid on in his honour; he has curated a special exhibition called ‘Prince and Patron’ at Buckingham Palace, featuring some of his favourite artworks; and for the first time he has scheduled a tour of Gambia, Ghana and Nigeria with his wife, the Duchess of Cornwall.
What’s more, it is believed that Her Majesty the Queen is planning an extravagant party to honour this momentous occasion, at which members of his family as well as European royalty will come together and pay tribute to the Prince of Wales’ long and fruitful life so far.
And what a interesting life it has been! As the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, he has a number of notable accomplishments well beyond the call of duty. He became the first ever heir apparent to earn a university degree when he graduated from Cambridge in 1970, and in 2011 surpassed his great-great-grandfather Edward VII as the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history, after being awarded the title at the tender age of 9.
After university he served in several branches of the British military until 1976, in particular the Royal Navy, during which time he rose to the rank of Lieutenant and commanded the minesweeper HMS Bronington with a crew of 32. In 2011, Her Majesty awarded Charles the honorary rank of Admiral of the Fleet.
It seems fitting then, that a brand new portrait has been specially commissioned to recognise the 70 thoroughly active years of Prince Charles’ life – a portrait created by none other than renowned artist and sculptor Luigi Badia and officially approved by Her Majesty the Queen.
Special portraits like this are few and far between, and therefore are always popular with collectors – especially portraits as detailed and remarkably accurate as this one. The stunning design has been painstakingly hand-engraved by Badia, with particular attention being paid to retain the circular shape of the wording accompanying the portrait – “HRH The Prince of Wales – 70th Birthday”.
If you’re interested…
This brand new design has been issued in a number of specifications, from a Proof £5 right up to a stunning Gold Proof One Pound Coin, which are all available from The Westminster Collection. However, with their surprisingly low editions and the significance of this Royal birthday, I suggest you act now if you’re looking to mark the occasion with a very special new coin.
Prince George appears on a British 1st class stamp issued 21st April 2016 – the first time he will be pictured on our post.
The new stamp is part of a special miniature sheet issued to commemorate the Queen’s 90th Birthday, and forms part of a group shot featuring Princes William and Charles, alongside Her Majesty the Queen herself.
Photographer Ranald Mackechnie captured the shot in Buckingham Palace’s White Drawing Room, with the aid of a few carefully positioned books to bring the young Prince George into the frame.
The miniature sheet harks back to the stamps issued in 2000 for the Queen Mother’s 100th birthday, which also featured a family scene. However this stamp sheet is particularly special, as it is the first time three heirs apparent have posed together in this way.
Perfect for collecting
The new stamp sheet will be particularly sought-after by collectors, as philatelic ‘firsts’ like this are always in demand – especially when linked to such an important Royal event.
Further adding to the appeal are six more commemorative UK stamps due to be issued simultaneously. Each features a photograph of the Queen from throughout her life, and the images are instantly evocative of her lifetime of service to the country.
Aside from their visual appeal, there are also a number of British ‘firsts’ here too, including the first time the Queen has been pictured on a stamp with a head of state from another country – in this case Nelson Mandela.
Suffice to say, this impressive new issue is a fitting tribute to The Queen, and these stamps will make a proud addition to the collection of anyone that wants to mark this landmark Royal occasion.
You can own ALL six new stamps, plus the miniature sheet, on The Ultimate Queen’s 90th Birthday First Day Cover. Officially postmarked by Royal Mail on the Queen’s Birthday 21st April 2016, this cover is available to order now.
Births, deaths, weddings, christenings, jubilees, anniversaries and birthdays – The Royal Family have had commemorative coins issued to mark them all.
But which Royal coins are really worth adding to your collection? With so many out there it can be difficult to know where to start. That’s why I’ve put together this guide to nine of my favourite coins, each representing a member of the modern Royal family. Without further ado, in no particular order…
1. Princess Diana
No royal collection would be complete without a Princess Diana coin.
The most poignant issue was struck by The Royal Mint in 1999 following the tragic death of ‘the people’s princess’. Diana touched the hearts and lives of thousands across the globe and this coin commemorates her life – with a beautifully engraved portrait by David Cornell. Such an important member of the Royal family should forever be remembered and this is the perfect way in which to pay tribute to her life.
2. Prince Charles
The Prince Charles 50th Birthday coin holds the distinction of being the rarest UK Gold £5 coin to be issued. Just 773 were struck and it also features the most words of any British coin within its design.
Prince Charles founded the Princes Trust in 1976 – a charity which was created in order to help the lives of disadvantaged young people. The coin was issued to celebrate his 50th birthday and honour his charity. As the longest serving heir in British history, Prince Charles is certainly a Royal figure that is certainly deserving of a commemorative coin.
3. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge was viewed by an estimated 2 billion people around the world.
The most iconic photograph of the whole ceremony was undoubtedly The Balcony Kiss – and this was captured perfectly on this Cook Islands $1 coin. Plated in 24 carat gold the Royal Wedding Photographic coin had an edition limit of just 24,500 – which isn’t many considering the number of people who tuned in to watch the ceremony. In years to come when William is King, those who have this coin will own a lasting memory of the day he married his Queen.
4. Prince George
Born 22nd July, 2013, the arrival of the young Prince George stirred global interest – especially from the USA. As the first son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George became third in line to the throne and is our future King.
The Perth Mint issued a Royal commemorative coin which really stood out. Depicting William and Kate with the new-born Prince this was the first official coin from a major nation to feature an engraving of Prince George.
5. Princess Charlotte
On 2nd May this year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcomed their second child into the world – Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana. The Royal christening took place on 5th July at St Mary Magdalene church on the Sandringham estate.
With a design inspired by the stunning Lily Font which is used for Royal christenings, the Silver Proof £5 Coin issued by Guernsey captured the moment perfectly. The elaborate one-off design makes this one of the premier commemoratives celebrating the young Princess.
6. Queen Elizabeth II
In 2012 Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Diamond Jubilee. It was a multinational celebration that marked the 60th anniversary of the her accession in 1952.
To celebrate, an exceptional ‘double obverse’ coin was issued. The coin is the first ever UK crown to feature the Queen’s full profile on both sides. With such a rare design, the Diamond Jubilee coin is certainly one which adds another dimension to any Royal collection.
7. Prince Philip
Prince Philip’s life of Royal service began at Queen Elizabeth II’s accession in 1952 when he was promoted to Commander after a distinguished career in the Royal Navy.
To mark his 90th birthday in 2011, a specially commissioned portrait was struck on a £5 coin issued by the Royal Mint. This was the first coin in British history to feature both a Monarch and a Consort on opposite sides.
8. Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother
The 1980 UK 25p Coin was issued in celebration of the Queen Mother’s 80th birthday. The design features the effigy of the Queen Mother surrounded by bows and lions – which is a pun on her family name ‘Bowes-Lyon’
This was the penultimate 25p crown issued in the UK and was the first ever British coin to feature a living person other than the reigning monarch.
A special mention goes to the Canada 2014 $20 ‘Royal Generations’ Silver Proof Coin. This coin was issued to commemorate the birth of Prince George and pictures three generations of heirs.
I think it’s particularly special as Prince George’s birth marks only the second time in history that Britain has had three living male heirs to the throne from separate generations – and this coin captures them all.
So if you’re looking to put together a Royal collection, these coins are my personal recommendations, each with a story to tell. If you own some already, let me know in the comments…