• 50 Cents 1981, KM# 72, Australia, Elizabeth II, Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, Royal Wedding
  • 50 Cents 1981, KM# 72, Australia, Elizabeth II, Wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana, Royal Wedding
Description

The wedding of Charles, Prince of Wales, and Lady Diana Spencer took place on 29 July 1981 at St Paul's Cathedral, London, United Kingdom. The ceremony was a traditional Church of England wedding service. Notable figures in attendance included many members of royal families from across the world, republican heads of state, and members of the bride's and groom's families. Their marriage was widely billed as a "fairytale wedding" and the "wedding of the century". It was watched by an estimated global TV audience of 750 million. The United Kingdom had a national holiday on that day to mark the wedding. The couple separated in 1992 and divorced in 1996.

In Australian up until as close to the event as June 1981 it wasn’t clear that a commemorative issue was even going to be released with industrial action at the Royal Australian Mint affecting coin issues and the minting process. However, after keeping their plans under wraps the RAM finally announced that to celebrate this royal marriage the Royal Mint in Wales was to strike a commemorative 50c piece to circulate in Australia.

This was an official design given the Royal seal of approval by the Queen but is affectionately known to collectors as the Chuck and Di 50c.

Obverse

Second crowned portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II facing right, wearing the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara.

The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland tiara was a wedding present in 1947 from her grandmother, Queen Mary, who received it as a gift from the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland in 1893 on the occasion of her marriage to the Duke of York, later George V. Made by E. Wolfe & Co., it was purchased from Garrard & Co. by a committee organised by Lady Eve Greville. In 1914, Mary adapted the tiara to take 13 diamonds in place of the large oriental pearls surmounting the tiara. At first, Elizabeth wore the tiara without its base and pearls but the base was reattached in 1969. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara is one of Elizabeth's most recognisable pieces of jewellery due to its widespread use on British banknotes and coinage.

Engraver: Arnold Machin

ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 1981

Reverse

A profile portrait of Prince Charles partially covered by a profile portrait of Lady Diana Spencer, both facing to the left.

Charles, Prince of Wales (1948), is the eldest child and heir apparent of Queen Elizabeth II. Known alternatively in Scotland as Duke of Rothesay and in South West England as Duke of Cornwall, he is the longest-serving heir apparent in British history, having held the position since 1952.

Diana, Princess of Wales (1961–1997), was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales. The marriage produced two sons, the princes William and Harry, who were then respectively second and third in the line of succession to the British throne. As Princess of Wales, Diana undertook royal duties on behalf of the Queen and represented her at functions overseas. She was celebrated for her charity work and for her support of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines. Diana remained the object of worldwide media scrutiny during and after her marriage, which ended in divorce on 28 August 1996. Her death in a car crash in Paris on 31 August 1997 and her funeral were accompanied by intense public mourning.

Engraver: Stuart Devlin

:H.R.H.THE PRINCE OF WALES AND LADY DIANA SPENCER:
FIFTY CENTS

Edge
Characteristics
Type Commemorative Issue (Circulating)
Material Cupronickel
Weight 15.75 g
Diameter 31.5 mm
Thickness 3 mm
Shape polygon
Sides 12
Alignment Medal
Mint
Royal Australian Mint (RAM)

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Cupronickel, 28.28 g, ⌀ 38.61 mm