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The Latin on British Coins

Paraglider returns to Doha next week. Meanwhile, I wonder how many tourists to Britain ever notice the cryptic messages that surround the Queen's head on our coinage? Apart from the coherent Elizabeth II and the date, our pounds bear the legend DG REG FD. Not very informative. The two pound coins, having more space available, expand this to DEI GRA REG FID DEF, which is better, but still a bit cryptic. The unabbreviated form would read DEI GRATIA REGINA (Queen, by the Grace of God) and FIDEI DEFENSOR (Defender of the Faith). The first of these was originally an assertion of the Divine Right of Kings and the second an affirmation of the monarch's role as head of the Church of England (initiated by Henry VIII in defiance of the Pope). Charlie-boy is known to be queasy about Fid Def, wishing to redefine it to mean Defender of Faith, in the spirit of inclusion. It remains to be seen if he'll ever get the chance, of course.
Then there was the Queen's grandfather. Coins were bigger in his day, and had to be, to accommodate a veritable chain of Latin: GEORGIVS V DEI GRA:BRITT:OMN:REX FID:DEF:IND:IMP:, or George V, by the Grace of God, King of All Britons, Defender of the Faith, Emperor of India.
Maybe we should stop moaning about the long titles of the Gulf Royals. It's obviously part and parcel of Kingship!

4 comments:

  1. I just dug out two old pennies, GEORGIVS VI D:G:BR:OMN:REX F:D:IND:IMR and ELIZABETH.II.DEI.GRATIA.REGINA.F:D:+

    On the other side of both is a kangaroo.

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  2. A kangaroo? Sure it wasn't Britannia in disguise? Thanks for the visit :)

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  3. Apparently, HMTQ's full title was once (deep breath):

    "Her Majesty Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith, Duchess of Edinburgh, Countess of Merioneth, Baroness Greenwich, Duke of Lancaster, Lord of Mann, Duke of Normandy, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Garter, Sovereign of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, Sovereign of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, Sovereign of the Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick, Sovereign of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, Sovereign of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, Sovereign of the Distinguished Service Order, Sovereign of the Imperial Service Order, Sovereign of the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, Sovereign of the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, Sovereign of the Order of British India, Sovereign of the Indian Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of Burma, Sovereign of the Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, Sovereign of the Royal Family Order of King Edward VII, Sovereign of the Order of Merit, Sovereign of the Order of the Companions of Honour, Sovereign of the Royal Victorian Order, Sovereign of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem."

    Wikipedia source: B+ must try harder

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  4. Well there we go - I'd completely forgotten the St John's Hospital bit! ;)

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