The Land of Hope and Glory Collection tells the story of Britain through the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
In the final instalment of the series, we will revisit some of the important events that have happened during Her Majesty’s reign in the past three decades.
Fire at Windsor Castle
On the 20th November, 1992 a terrible fire took place at Windsor Castle, the magnificent building Her Majesty the Queen calls home for most of her private weekends and one month a year over Easter.
Maintenance work was being carried out in the Castle at the time when a faulty spotlight overheated leading to it igniting. A nearby curtain took hold of the heat, lighting up in flames.
The fire spread dramatically.
Luckily, due to the work being carried out, much of the furniture which would have been near when the fire started, had already been removed to create space. This meant that a lot of possessions that would have been completely destroyed, were safely tucked away somewhere else.
Those working in the Castle, along with soldiers and members of the Royal family, all formed a human chain to pass items along out of the building. As such this meant that 300 clocks, historic manuscripts, thousands of valuable books, a forty-six-meter-long table, thirty-seven-meter-long carpet, and a collection of miniatures were all rescued.
Help quickly arrived and all together 1.5 million gallons (6,750 tons) of water from the mains water supply, a reservoir fire hydrant, a swimming pool, a pond, and the nearby River Thames were used to stop the fire.
After five years the Castle was returned to its former glory and remains open to the public throughout the year — continuing its 900 years of history today.
Channel Tunnel Opens
The American Society of Civil Engineers described this as one of the “seven wonders of the world” in 1996. Connecting Britain and the European mainland for the first time ever since the Ice Age, The Channel Tunnel reduced travel time between England and France to a mere thirty-five minutes. At the height of its construction fifteen thousand people were employed and eleven boring machines used. One boring machine is as long as two two football pitches, and all eleven together weighed an enormous twelve thousand tones.
Interestingly, one remains buried under the Channel and another was sold on eBay in 2004 for £39,999!
Her Majesty travelled from Waterloo to Calais on the 6th May, 1994 at a speed of 80 pmh. She joined President Mitterrand, who had travelled from Paris at 186 mph and together they officially opened the Channel, cutting red, white and blue ribbons to the sound of each’s national anthems.
The Angel of the North is constructed
Standing at an impressive sixty-five feet, the impressive Angel of the North is the height of four double decker buses!
In 1994, when winning artist Antony Gormley’s designs were revealed, the public were not too happy with the plans. Causing uproar, materials put forward were frowned upon, along with the size and magnitude of the sculpture in such an open and unlikely place.
However, many years on, those that live near have fallen in love with it. It has become a site of pleasure and this year celebrates its 24th birthday. Made from steel and a small amount of cooper, the Angel is meant to last for more than one hundred years. Coppers slows the erosion of the steel, and the materials together are quite malleable and can be easily manipulated into a variety of shapes and forms. The Angel of the North cost £800,000 to build and is seen by more than one person every second. It represents the history behind the site, societies future and our transition from the industrial age to the information age. An evolving sculpture to evolve with us.
The Millennium Fireworks
The millennium fireworks marked the movement into a new decade. Celebrations were held up and down the United Kingdom, with something for everyone to take part in, and crowds of more than two million took to London.
An incredible firework display took place by the River Thames. Outside of the UK, events were coordinated around the world to see in the new millennium, including an outdoor concert in Washington, United States.
On the Tower Bridge of London Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II lit a laser which shot fire across the river to the national beacon. This beacon took hold of the fire, signalling the embrace of a new century. Soon after, beacons across the UK all became lit, uniting everyone across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Her Majesty also attended the Millennium Dome in Greenwich which held a special concert.
Birth of Prince George
In 2012, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that they were expecting their first child. This child would become third in line to the throne and would become a future monarch of the United Kingdom. On 22nd July 2013, Prince George was born at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington.
Prior to his birth the Queen made some changes which impacted the Bill of Rights (1689) and the Act of Settlement (1701). A new Crown Act (2013) was brought into force which essentially put an end to a younger son displacing an elder daughter in the line of succession to the throne. Prince George is the first to have been born under this act. You can find out more about the line of succession here >>
As is tradition with any Royal birth, the announcement was placed on the easel outside Buckingham Palace. Along with this, many celebrated up and down the commonwealth countries, and certain water features across the globe were illuminated in blue.
This instalment marks the last in our Britain through the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II blog series. We hope you have enjoyed travelling back with us through the different decades as much as we have.
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The Land of Hope and Glory Collection celebrates Britain through the reign of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. And today, you can start the collection of a Lifetime. Click here to secure the Coronation Medal for FREE >>
Revisit the historic moments that have shaped Britain through the reign of Queen Elizabeth II with our Land of Hope and Glory blog series:
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…