Queen Elizabeth II’s Reign Through Banknotes
Queen Elizabeth II’s portraits taken at different milestones in her life appear on many banknotes in various countries around the world.
Since ascending to the throne in 1952 after the death of her father the king, Queen Elizabeth II is not only the longest-serving monarch in the world, but she is likely the most documented Queen on banknotes as well, with hundreds of banknotes from different countries in the world bearing her portrait.
As head of the Commonwealth, Queen Elizabeth’s face has been a regular on British, Australian, and Canadian banknotes to name a few. What a better way to celebrate the reign of such a great woman than through banknote history? Amazingly, the queen’s journey from around age 8 to 85 can be followed through banknotes.
Appeared on banknotes even before she became queen
Some countries started documenting her journey even before Elizabeth became queen. For example, the $20 Canadian note from the 1935 series had an image of Princess Elizabeth at the age of eight.
Queen Elizabeth II has been strongly admired throughout her reign by various countries around the world and has been strongly admired by the British people. Many banknotes have been produced in her honor since ascending to the throne at age twenty-six. From that age, a significant number of her portraits were taken by the official royal photographer at the time, Dorothy Wilding.
Just after becoming queen, Queen Elizabeth appeared on a Jamaican banknote – the Jamaican Pound.
In 1966, at the age of thirty-eight, Australia released the £1 note with an image of the Queen.
A portrait of the Queen wearing the George IV state diadem taken in 1952 was widely used on different currencies. It was adopted for banknotes across 20 countries.
In her thirties, the first banknote to bear her portrait was issued in 1960 by the Bank of England. The 1961 portrait was done by Robert Austin while the second banknote issued in had a portrait of the queen credited to Reynolds Stone. From 1963, there would be no other banknotes issued with the Queen’s portrait in Britain until 1970, when she was forty-four; the portrait was done by Harry Eccleston.
During the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, another portrait was taken, and to date, this portrait is still used on banknotes from Gibraltar, Belize, and the Falkland Islands.
In 1992, a photograph of the queen was taken by Terry O’Neil in the Buckingham Palace. This portrait now appears on banknotes in the Bahamas, Guernsey, St Helena, and Bermuda.
In Canada, there is a banknote of $20 that bears the portrait of the Queen that was taken as recently as 2011.
Queen Elizabeth has also been featured on banknotes in from countries in Africa, including the 5-rupee banknote of Mauritius
Admired by so many across the globe, it comes as no surprise that Queen Elizabeth’s portrait can be found on so many different banknotes.