collectively to various guilds in trades and crafts which later became

known as livery companies. Over the centuries, the relationship between the

Crown and individual tradesmen was formalised by the issue of royal


In the reign of Henry VIII, Thomas Hewytt was appointed to 'Serve the

Court with Swannes and Cranes and all kinds of Wildfoule'. A hard-working

Anne Harris was appointed as the 'King's Laundresse'. Elizabeth I's

household book listed, among other things, the Yeomen Purveyors of 'Veales,

Beeves & Muttons; Sea & Freshwater Fish'. In 1684 goods and services to the

Palace included a Haberdasher of Hats, a Watchmaker in Reversion, an

Operator for the Teeth and a Goffe-Club Maker. According to the Royal

Kalendar of 1789, a Pin Maker, a Mole Taker, a Card Maker and a Rat Catcher

are among other tradesmen appointed to the court. A notable omission was

the Bug Taker - at that time one of the busiest functionaries at court but

perhaps not one to be recorded in a Royal Kalendar. Records also show that

in 1776 Mr Savage Bear was 'Purveyor of Greens Fruits and Garden Things',

and that in 1820 Mr William Giblet was supplying meat to the table of

George IV.

Warrant holders today represent a large cross-section of British trade

and industry (there is a small number of foreign names), ranging from dry

cleaners to fishmongers, and from agricultural machinery to computer

software. A number of firms have a record of Royal Warrants reaching back

over more than 100 years. Warrant-holding firms do not provide their goods

or services free to the Royal households, and all transactions are

conducted on a strictly commercial basis. There are currently approximately

800 Royal Warrant holders, holding over 1,100 Royal Warrants between them

(some have more than one Royal Warrant).

On 25 May 1840, a gathering of 'Her Majesty's Tradesmen' held a

celebration in honour of Queen Victoria's birthday. They later decided to

make this an annual event and formed themselves for the purpose into an

association which eventually became known as the Royal Warrant Holders


The Association acts both in a supervisory role to ensure that the

standards of quality and reliability in their goods and services are

upheld, and as a channel of communication for its members in their dealings

with the various departments of the Royal Household. The Association

ensures that the Royal Warrant is not used by those not entitled and is

correctly applied by those who are.


There are close ties - past and present - between the Monarchy and the

monetary system. They can be seen, for example, in the title of the 'Royal

Mint' and the representation of the monarch on all circulating British


The first coins were struck in the British Isles 2000 years ago using

designs copied from Greek coins. Following the Roman invasion of Britain in

43 AD, the Roman coinage system was introduced. After the decline of Roman

power in Britain from the fifth century AD, the silver penny eventually

emerged as the dominant coin circulating in England but no standardized

system was yet in place.

In the eighth century, as strong kings emerged with power over more than

one region, they began to centralize the currency. Offa introduced a new

coinage in the form of the silver penny, which for centuries was to be the

basis of the English currency. Alfred introduced further changes by

authorising mints in the burhs he had founded. By 800 AD coins regularly

bore the names of the kings for whom they were struck. A natural

development was the representation of their own images on their coins.

Coinage played a part in spreading the fame of kings - the more often coins

passed through men's hands, and the further afield they were taken by

plunder or trade, the more famous their royal sponsors became. Athelstan

(d. 939) is the first English king to be shown on his coins wearing a crown

or circlet. For many people, the king's image on coins was the only

likeness of the monarch which they were likely to see in their lifetimes.

By the end of the tenth century the English monarchy had the most

sophisticated coinage system in western Europe. The system allowed kings to

exploit the wealth of a much enlarged kingdom and to raise the very large

sums of money which they had to use as bribes to limit the effect of the

Vikings' invasions at the end of the tenth century.

For five centuries in England, until 1280, silver pennies were the only

royal coins in circulation. Gradually a range of denominations began to

emerge, and by the mid fourteenth century a regular coinage of gold was

introduced. The gold sovereign came into existence in 1489 under King Henry

VII. Throughout this period, counterfeiting coinage was regarded as a grave

crime against the state amounting to high treason and was punishable by

death under an English statute of 1350. The crime was considered to be an

interference with the administration of government and the representation

of the monarch. Until the nineteenth century the Royal Mint was based at

the Tower of London, and for centuries was therefore under the direct

control of the monarch.

The English monarchy was the first monarchy in the British Isles to

introduce a coinage for practical and propaganda purposes. Only one early

Welsh king, Hywel Dda, minted a coin, though it may not have been produced

in Wales itself. The first Scottish king to issue a coinage was David I (d.

1153). Until the reign of Alexander III (1249-1286) Scottish coinage was

only issued sparingly. During the reign of Alexander III coins began to be

minted in much larger quantities, a result of increasing trade with Europe

and the importation of foreign silver.

After the death of Alexander III in 1289, Scotland fell into a long

period of internal strife and war with England. A nominal coinage was

issued under John Balliol c.1296 and then in reign of Robert the Bruce

(1306-1329), but the first substantial issue of coinage did not come until

the reign of David II (1329-1371). The accession by James VI to the English

throne in 1603 saw the fixing of value of the Scottish coinage to a ratio

of 1 / 12 with English coinage. After the Act of Union in 1707 unique

Scottish coinage came to an end. The last Scottish minted coins were the

sterling issues based on the English denominations that were issued until

1709 with the "E" mintmark for Edinburgh. Some British coinages have

featured Scottish devices, the Royal Arms of Scotland or the thistle emblem

during the 20th century, but these are a part of the coinage of the United

Kingdom, not unique to Scotland.

In the United Kingdom a streamlining of coinage production took place in

the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Until the Restoration of Charles

II, coins were struck by hand. In 1816, there was a major change in the

British coinage, powered by the Industrial Revolution. The Royal Mint moved

from The Tower of London to new premises on nearby Tower Hill, and acquired

powerful new steam powered coining presses. Further changes took place in

the 1960s, when the Mint moved to modern premises at Llantrisant, near


After over a thousand years and many changes in production techniques,

the monarch continues to be depicted on the obverse of modern UK coinage.

Certain traditions are observed in this representation. From the time of

Charles II onwards a tradition developed of successive monarchs being

represented on the coinage facing in the opposite direction to their

immediate predecessor. There was an exception to this in the brief reign of

Edward VIII, who liked portraits of himself facing to the left, even though

he should have faced to the right according to tradition. The designs for

proposed coins in the Mint collection show Edward VIII facing to the left.

The tradition has been restored since the reign of George VI.

During The Queen's reign there have been four representations of Her

Majesty on circulating coinage. The original coin portrait of Her Majesty

was by Mary Gillick and was adopted at the beginning of the reign in 1952.

The following effigy was by Arnold Machin OBE, RA, approved by the Queen in

1964. That portrait, which features the same tiara as the latest effigy,

was used on all the decimal coins from 1968. The next effigy was by Raphael

Maklouf FRSA and was adopted in 1985. The latest portrait was introduced in

1998 and is the work of Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS, FSNAD. In keeping with

tradition, the new portrait continues to show the Queen in profile facing

to the right. Her Majesty is wearing the tiara which she was given as a

wedding present by her grandmother Queen Mary.

Images of the monarch on bank notes are a much more recent invention.

Although bank notes began to be issued from the late seventeenth century,

they did not come to predominate over coins until the nineteenth century.

Only since 1960 has the British Sovereign been featured on English bank

notes, giving The Queen a unique distinction above her predecessors.


There is a close relationship between the British Monarchy and the postal

system of the United Kingdom. Present-day postal services have their

origins in royal methods of sending documents in previous centuries.

Nowadays, the image of The Queen on postage stamps preserves the connection

with the Monarchy.

For centuries letters on affairs of State to and from the Sovereign's

Court, and despatches in time of war, were carried by Messengers of the

Court and couriers employed for particular occasions. Henry VIII's Master

of the Posts set up post-stages along the major roads of the kingdom where

Royal Couriers, riding post-haste, could change horses. In Elizabeth I's

day, those carrying the royal mail were to 'blow their horn as oft as they

met company, or four times every mile'. Letters of particular urgency - for

example, reprieves for condemned prisoners - bore inscriptions such as

'Haste, haste - post haste - haste for life for life hast' and the sign of

the gallows. During the reign of James I (1603-25) all four posts of the

kingdom still centred on the Court: The Courte to Barwicke (the post to

Scotland); The Courte to Beaumoris (to Ireland); The Courte to Dover (to

Europe) and The Courte to Plymouth (the Royal Dockyard).

Charles I opened his posts to public use, as a means of raising money.

Although public use of the royal posts increased, the running of the mail

continued to centre round the post requirements of the Sovereign's Court.

Until the 1780's the Mails did not leave London until the Court letters had

been received at the General Post Office, and as late as 1807 Court letters

coming into London were, unlike ordinary letters, delivered the moment the

mail arrived. The postal system rapidly spread during Victoria's reign with

the introduction of the Uniform Penny Postage in 1840, and the Queen's

letters bore postage stamps like everyone else's. Royal Messengers

continued to carry certain letters by hand. The increase in the Court's

mail led to special postal facilities being provided in 1897 in the form of

a Court Post Office - an arrangement which still exists today under the

management of the Court Postmaster.

Symbols of the royal origins of the UK's postal system remain: a

miniature silhouette of the Monarch's head is depicted on all stamps; the

personal cyphers of The Queen and her predecessors (going back to Victoria)

appear on many letterboxes dating from their respective reigns throughout

the country; and the postal delivery service is known as the Royal Mail.


The function of the Royal Coat of Arms is to identify the person who is

Head of State. In respect of the United Kingdom, the royal arms are borne

only by the Sovereign. They are used in many ways in connection with the

administration and government of the country, for instance on coins, in

churches and on public buildings. They are familiar to most people as they

appear on the products and goods of Royal Warrant holders.

The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom have evolved over many years

and reflect the history of the Monarchy and of the country. In the design

the shield shows the various royal emblems of different parts of the United

Kingdom: the three lions of England in the first and fourth quarters, the

lion of Scotland in the second and the harp of Ireland in the third. It is

surrounded by a garter bearing the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense ('Evil

to him who evil thinks'), which symbolises the Order of the Garter, an

ancient order of knighthood of which the Queen is Sovereign. The shield is

supported by the English lion and Scottish unicorn and is surmounted by the

Royal crown. Below it appears the motto of the Sovereign, Dieu et mon droit

('God and my right'). The plant badges of the United Kingdom - rose,

thistle and shamrock - are often displayed beneath the shield.

Separate Scottish and English quarterings of the Royal Arms originate

from the Union of the Crown in 1603. The Scottish version of the Royal Coat

of Arms shows the lion of Scotland in the first and fourth quarters, with

that of England being in the second. The harp of Ireland is in the third

quarter. The mottoes read In defence and No one will attack me with

impunity. From the times of the Stuart kings, the Scottish quarterings have

been used for official purposes in Scotland (for example, on official

buildings and official publications).

The special position of Wales as a Principality was recognised by the

creation of the Prince of Wales long before the incorporation of the

quarterings for Scotland and Ireland in the Royal Arms. The arms of the

Prince of Wales show the arms of the ancient Principality in the centre as

well as these quarterings.

Coats of Arms of members of the Royal Family are broadly similar to The

Queen's with small differences to identify them.


The Great Seal of the Realm is the chief seal of the Crown, used to show

the monarch's approval of important state documents. In today's

constitutional monarchy, the Sovereign acts on the advice of the Government

of the day, but the seal remains an important symbol of the Sovereign's

role as Head of State.

The practice of using this seal began in the reign of Edward the

Confessor in the 11th century, when a double-sided metal matrix with an

image of the Sovereign was used to make an impression in wax for attachment

by ribbon or cord to royal documents. The seal meant that the monarch did

not need to sign every official document in person; authorisation could be

carried out instead by an appointed officer. In centuries when few people

could read or write, the seal provided a pictorial expression of royal

approval which all could understand. The uniqueness of the official seal -

only one matrix was in existence at any one time - also meant it was

difficult to forge or tamper with official documents.

The Great Seal matrix has changed many times throughout the centuries. A

new matrix is engraved at the beginning of each reign on the order of the

Sovereign; it is traditional that on the death of the Sovereign the old

seal is used until the new Sovereign orders otherwise. For many monarchs, a

single seal has sufficed. In the case of some long-reigning monarchs, such

as Queen Victoria, the original seal simply wore out and a series of

replacements was required.

The Queen has had two Great Seals during her reign. The first was

designed by Gilbert Ledward and came into service in 1953. Through long

usage and the heat involved in the sealing process, the matrix lost

definition. From summer 2001 a new Great Seal, designed by sculptor James

Butler and produced by the Royal Mint, has been in use. At a meeting of the

Privy Council on 18 July 2001 The Queen handed the new seal matrix over to

the Lord High Chancellor, currently Lord Irvine of Lairg, who is the

traditional keeper of the Great Seal.

The Great Seal matrix will be used to create seals for a range of

documents requiring royal approval, including letters patent, royal

proclamations, commissions, some writs (such as writs for the election of

Members of Parliament), and the documents which give power to sign and

ratify treaties. During the year 2000-01, more than 100 documents passed

under the Great Seal. Separate seals exist for Scotland - the Great Seal of

Scotland - and for Northern Ireland.

The process of sealing takes place nowadays at the House of Lords in the

office of the Clerk of the Crown in Chancery. A system of 'colour coding'

is used for the seal impression, depending on the type of document to which

it is being affixed. Dark green seals are affixed to letters patent which

elevate individuals to the peerage; blue seals are used for documents

relating to the close members of the Royal Family; and scarlet red is used

for documents appointing a bishop and for most other patents.


A number of different types of flag are associated with The Queen and the

Royal Family. The Union Flag (or Union Jack) originated as a Royal flag,

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