Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 1926–2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and of 14 other Commonwealth realms. Her reign of 70 years and seven months, which began on 6 February 1952, was the longest of any British monarch in history.
When her father died in February 1952, Elizabeth—then 25 years old—became queen regnant of seven independent Commonwealth countries: the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Pakistan, and Ceylon (Sri Lanka), as well as Head of the Commonwealth. Elizabeth reigned as a constitutional monarch through major political changes such as the Troubles in Northern Ireland, devolution in the United Kingdom, the decolonisation of Africa, and the United Kingdom's accession to the European Communities and withdrawal from the European Union. The number of her realms varied over time as territories have gained independence and some realms have become republics.
Times of personal significance have included the births and marriages of her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren, her coronation in 1953 and the celebrations of her Silver, Golden, Diamond, and Platinum jubilees in 1977, 2002, 2012, and 2022, respectively.
Fourth 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: Ian Rank-Broadley
ELIZABETH II AUSTRALIA 2006
Australia coat of arms (the escutcheon is carried by a Red Kangaroo and an Emu) and the numeral 50.
The escutcheon is the focal point of the coat of arms, contained within is the badge of each Australian state, the whole surrounded by an ermine border representing the federation of the states:
· New South Wales: the cross of St. George with lion and stars;
· Victoria: an Imperial Crown and Southern Cross;
· Queensland: a blue Maltese Cross and Crown;
· South Australia: the Australian piping shrike;
· Western Australia: a black swan;
· Tasmania: a red walking lion.
In the top half, from left to right, the states represented are: New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland. In the bottom half, from left to right: South Australia, Western Australia, and Tasmania. Above the shield is the seven-pointed Commonwealth Star or Star of Federation above a blue and gold wreath, forming the crest. Six of the points on the star represent the original six states, while the seventh point represents the combined territories and any future states of Australia. In its entirety the shield represents the federation of Australia.
The Red Kangaroo and Emu that support the shield have never been designated as official animal emblems of the nation. They owe their unofficial recognition to the fact that they are native Australian fauna (found only on that continent), and likely chosen because they are the most well-known native Australian animals large enough to be positioned together in scale holding up the shield.
The Commonwealth coat of arms is the formal symbol of the Commonwealth of Australia. The first arms were authorised by King Edward VII on 7 May 1908, and the current version by King George V on 19 September 1912.
Engraver: Stuart Devlin
2nd portrait, Aussie Round
Silver, 13.28 g, ⌀ 31.5 mm
2nd portrait, Polygon
Cupronickel, 15.55 g, ⌀ 31.5 mm
2nd portrait, 200th Anniversary of the Exploration of the Eastern Coast of Australia by James Cook
Cupronickel, 15.75 g, ⌀ 31.5 mm