The Queens Beast 'White Lion of Mortimer'
Gold Coin - Limited Edition
When Her Majesty The Queen was crowned on 2 June 1953, ten heraldic beasts stood guard outside the coronation ceremony. The Queen’s Beasts are a series of statues that were commissioned by the British Ministry of Works and sculpted by James Woodford RA. Standing at six foot high and cast in plaster, the ten statues depict the genealogy of The Queen, with each of the heraldic beasts symbolizing the various strands of The Queen’s royal ancestry;
The Lion of England, the Griffin of Edward III, the Falcon of the Plantagenets, the Black Bull of Clarence, the Yale of Beaufort, the White Lion of Mortimer, the White Greyhound of Richmond, the Red Dragon of Wales, the Unicorn of Scotland, and the White Horse of Hanover – each proud beast used as a heraldic badge.
After the coronation, The Queen’s Beasts were taken to Hampton Court Palace where they stood guard in the Great Hall. At the time, the palace was also home to the King’s Beasts of Henry VIII, a series of statues that lined the bridge over the moat, from which James Woodford took inspiration for The Queen’s Beasts statues. While The Queen’s Beasts were relocated to Windsor Castle four years later, the King’s Beasts statues remain at Hampton Court Palace today.
The White Lion of Mortimer descends to the Queen through Edward IV. The shield shows a white rose encircled by a golden sun, known heraldically as a ‘white rose en Soleil’ which is really a combination of two distinct badges. Both of these appear on the Great Seals of Edward IV and Richard III and were used by George VI when Duke of York. Unlike the Lion of England, this beast is uncrowned.