Symbols of Monarchy
The British Monarchy is represented by a number of symbols which are used in everyday life, these symbols represent not only the monarch's reign but also the sovereignty of the nation and the historical significance of the crown.
Royal warrants are granted to people or companies who have regularly supplied goods or services for a minimum of five consecutive years to The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh or The Prince of Wales. A Royal warrant is initially granted for five years, after which time it comes up for review by the Royal Household Tradesmen's Warrants Committee. Warrants may not be renewed if the quality or supply for the product or service is insufficient, as far as the relevant Royal Household is concerned. The warrants are a mark of recognition that tradesmen are regular suppliers of goods and services to the Royal households. Strict regulations govern the warrant, which allows the grantee or company to use the legend 'By Appointment' and display the Royal coat of arms on his products, such as stationery, advertisements and other printed material, in his or her premises and on delivery vehicles. There are currently approximately 800 Royal warrant holders, holding over 1,100 Royal warrants between them (some have more than one Royal warrant).
Coat of Arms
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. The Sovereign's coat of arms has evolved over many years and reflects 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.
The present-day postal service in the UK has Royal origins, beginning in the system used to send Court documents in previous centuries. 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. 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 most letterboxes; and the main postal delivery service is known as the Royal Mail. The image of The Queen which appears on UK postage stamps was designed by Arnold Machin, who originally created it as a sculpture. Issued on 5 June 1967, it has remained unchanged for four decades. It is thought that this design is the most reproduced work of art in history, with over 200 billion examples produced so far.
Coinage And Banknotes
There are close ties between the Monarchy and the UK monetary system.These can be seen, for example, in the title of the 'Royal Mint' and the representation of the monarch on all circulating British coinage. 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 was used on all the decimal coins from 1968. The next effigy was by Raphael Maklouf FRSA and was adopted in 1985. From the time of Charles II onwards, a tradition developed of monarchs being represented on the coinage facing in the opposite direction to their immediate predecessor.
The Crown Jewels
The Crown Jewels are the ceremonial treasures which have been acquired by English kings and queens, mostly since 1660. The collection includes not only the regalia used at coronations, but also crowns acquired by various monarchs, church and banqueting plate, orders, insignia, robes, a unique collection of medals and Royal christening fonts. Britain is the only European monarchy still using its regalia for the consecration ceremony of crowning the Sovereign. At Westminster Abbey, where William I was the first monarch to be crowned, the Sovereign is escorted to the Coronation Chair (used at every coronation since 1300) by individuals carrying the processional regalia. The most famous attempt at theft was in 1671 by Colonel Thomas Blood. He was caught at the East Gate of the Tower with the crown, one sceptre and the orb. During the Second World War the jewels were hidden in a secret location which has never been disclosed.
The Royal Standard
The Royal Standard represents the Sovereign and the United Kingdom. The Royal Standard is flown when The Queen is in residence in one of the Royal Palaces, on The Queen's car on official journeys and on aircraft (when on the ground). It may also be flown on any building, official or private (but not ecclesiastical buildings), during a visit by The Queen, if the owner or proprietor so requests. The Royal Standard also used to be flown on board the Royal Yacht, when it was in service and The Queen was on board. The Royal Standard is only flown when the Sovereign is present. If the Union Jack is flying above Buckingham Palace instead of the Standard, The Queen is not in residence.