Tuesday, April 08, 2008

BRITONS PAY A SAD FAREWELL TO BRITANNIA AS ROYAL MINT LAUNCHES NEW DESIGN COINS



“Rule Britannia, Britannia rules the waves” so the popular song goes. However it seems Britannia's rule has come to a sad end and the people of Britain will soon be bidding her a fond farewell as the image of Britannia will no longer feature on the new range of British coins. The Royal Mint unveiled the new style coins last week, the biggest shakeup of British coinage since decimalisation. Her Majesty the Queen will still feature proudly on the heads side of the coins. However the image of Britannia on the tails side will now be replaced by more modern images based around the Queen’s coat of arms. The new designs were created by a graphic design student who won a competition which was launched for members of the public to dream up new designs for the next generation of British coinage. The reverse of the £1 coin will feature the full coat of arms, whilst the remaining lower denomination coins will feature parts of it which like a jigsaw puzzle, when put together form the full coat of arms.

I personally still haven’t made my mind up about the new designs. It is quite a radical change and like many other Brits, I will miss the traditional image of Britannia. The image of Britannia, a young woman in a neo-classical gown, wearing a helmet, with a trident in one hand and Union Jack shield in the other has been a symbol of Britishness for centuries. The image originates from Roman times, when the Romans named their newly conquered land, just across the sea from Gaul, Britannia. The image of Britannia was actually featured on coins at that time and has continued to feature on some British coins to this day. Britannia became a popular figure in the early 1700’s when England, Scotland and Wales were united to form Great Britain. The news that Britannia will no longer feature on any new British coins for the first time in over 300 years has come as a body blow to many Britons, including myself who see it as a traditional symbol of our British heritage. The fate of Britannia has united many Britons of all ages, from all walks of life in a common cause to stop the loss of such a special symbol of British patriotism. Over 30,000 readers, including some MP’s, joined a national Sunday newspaper campaign to try to save the image of Britannia, but sadly without success.

PHOTO OF COINS:- Courtesy of BBC Website

6 comments:

Marion said...

This is too bad, Naomi. I remember when our flag was changed...I felt such a loss!

Naomi said...

I know exactly how you felt Marion. We feel the same way about Britannia. She is such a special symbol of the British Empire.

Cindy Swanson said...

Hi, Naomi! It's been a while since I visited your blog, so I thought I'd stop by. As always, it's very informative about what's going on in the UK! Have a lovely day.

SandyCarlson said...

This makes me think of the changes to US coins and stamps, Naomi. The decisions to change the backs of our quarters was driven by a desire to make the most of a collectors' market. The same holds true for stamps. Marketing and sales dictated the terms. It's too bad, but I think when a desire for tradition becomes marketable, we'll be all set!

Palm Springs Savant said...

I'm a bit of a traditionalist myself and loathe change for the sake of change...

Naomi said...

You too Cindy. Nice to see you again.

I've noticed they seem to produce a lot of special stamps and coins in the U.S. Sandy. Didn't realise it was so market driven though!

Me too Rick. I don't know why Britannia had to be removed from the coins. There was nothing wrong with them the way they were originally.