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Britain’s Royal Answer to the Euro

Great Britain has rolled out a new £5 coin with her Majesty’s image just in time to compete with Europe’s new single currency.

January 19, 2002

Great Britain has rolled out a new £5 coin with her Majesty's image just in time to compete with Europe's new single currency.

There was writing on the wall about the events that would unfold ever since John Redwood, the former opposition trade and industry spokesperson for the Conservative Party, complained back in 1998 that the Queen’s head would not appear on any of the new European currency. Euro opponents in the United Kingdom had something up their sleeves.

Now the world knows just what they had planned. The British Royal Mint recently announced the introduction of a new coin — the Golden Jubilee Commemorative coin.

Just in time for the launching of that ghastly euro on the continent, the Brits celebrate the 50th anniversary of Her Majesty the Queen Elizabeth’s ascending to the throne of the realm.

This coin, however, is more than just a collector’s item. It will be legal tender and will be worth £5. Collectors can obtain the Jubilee coins for £9.95. Others can simply wait until the new coin makes its way into the cashiers of the United Kingdom.

In view of Mr. Redwood’s remarks, the coin’s inscription obtains an entirely new meaning. The Latin reads as: Amor Populi Praesidium Reg, or, “The Love of the People is the Queen’s Protection.” The Queen will surely be pleased.

For Mr. Redwood and other “euro-skeptics,” however, that love and protection is more directed to the British pound. The impressive new coin bears the Queen’s likeness in solid sterling silver, and it will surely please conservatives more than those funny and colorful new euro notes and anonymous euro coins.

Unwittingly, perhaps, the British coin tells a lot more about the state of the British currency than euro opponents might realize.

The Queen’s portrait on the front — in robes, crown and galore — depicts the venerable lady in her 70s, rather than a forever-young fairy tale queen.

In view of the euro’s introduction — and despite the kicking and screaming of many in Great Britain — the new royal portrait might just as well shed a light on the shape of the British pound: old, rusty and maybe a bit out of date.