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Royal name change commemorated

 Gold and silver reverses of the UK £5 proof coins struck to celebrate the centenary of the House of Windsor. (Images courtesy & © The Royal Mint)

Gold and silver reverses of the UK £5 proof coins struck to celebrate the centenary of the House of Windsor. (Images courtesy & © The Royal Mint)

The United Kingdom’s reigning dynasty changed its name 100 years ago. The anniversary is being marked by the British Royal Mint.

On July 17, 1917, King George V issued a royal proclamation stating:

“Now, therefore, We, out of Our Royal Will and Authority, do hereby declare and announce that as from the date of this Our Royal Proclamation Our House and Family shall be styled and known as the House and Family of Windsor, and that all the descendants in the male line of Our said Grandmother Queen Victoria who are subjects of these Realms, other than female descendants who may marry or may have married, shall bear the said Name of Windsor”...

Up to that point George V as did his father, Edward VII, belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha. Considerable anti-German feeling during World War I had seen pressure mount on George V to change his family’s name. The last straw was when German Gotha G.IV bombers crossed the English Channel and attacked London directly.

And this is why George V, George VI and Elizabeth II belong to the House of Windsor along with Prince Charles and all the rest of the current British royal family.

To mark this historic occasion Britain’s Royal Mint has struck four 38.61 mm £5 coins: a 28.28 g BU cupronickel, a 28.28 g .925 silver proof, a 56.56 g .925 silver proof piedfort, and a 39.94 g .917 fine gold proof. Mintages are: unspecified, 13,000, 5,500, and 884, respectively.

The reverse design shows the badge of the House of Windsor as approved by George VI in 1938. Central to it is Windsor Castle’s Round Tower flying the Royal Standard. The sprigs of oak are a reference to Windsor Forest and define the base of the mount on which the castle stands. They also provide supporters to the Royal Crown.

The badge was originally approved with an older version of the Royal Crown but was altered to that currently in use when Elizabeth II ascended the throne.

However, designer Timothy Noad chose to make further subtle changes in that design to suit the field of the coin: “The crown was enlarged slightly to sit nicely with the lettering of the inscription. I wanted a clean, stylized and traditional look, which I felt was appropriate for the history and continuity of the House of Windsor.”

This article was originally printed in World Coin News. >> Subscribe today.

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