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Introduction

The term "Coronation Medals" is used here to refer to those medals issued to commemorate the coronation of a British King or Queen. The most recent example being the Coronation Medal issued in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of the present British sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II.

The term "Commemorative Medals" is used here to refer to those medals issued to commemorate the anniversary of a British sovereign's coronation. The most recent example being the Silver Jubilee medal issued in 1977 to commemorate the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. It has also been announced that a Golden Jubilee medal will be issued in 2002 to commemorate the 50 years since Queen Elizabeth II was crowned.

The entitlement to both types of medals has also varied a great deal, especially for commemorative medals.

20th Century British Monarchs

The following table provides a brief description of the Kings and Queens that have ruled the UK during the 20th century period (1900 to 1999).

Sovereign
Born
Died
Period Reigned
Victoria
24/05/1819
22/01/1901
1837 - 22/01/1901
Edward VII
09/11/1841
06/05/1910
22/01/1901 - 06/05/1910
George V
03/06/1865
20/01/1936
06/05/1910 - 20/01/1936
Edward VIII
23/06/1894
28/05/1972
20/01 - 11/12/1936
George VI
14/12/1895
06/02/1952
11/12/1936 - 06/02/1952
Elizabeth II
21/04/1926
-
06/02/1952 -

On the death of his Father King George V on 20 January 1936, Edward was proclaimed King Edward VIII. However, before his coronation (which was planned for May 1937) Edward abdicated on 11 December 1936 and his younger brother George became King George VI. While there was no official Coronation Medal for Edward VIII, various private institutions and public bodies commissioned their own medals for the anticipated coronation.

Jubilee Medals

The Jubilee Medal 1887 was issued to commemorate the Golden (50th) Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The medal was 30 millimetres in diameter and was issued in gold, silver or bronze. In all cases, the ribbon was blue with wide white stripes at both edges.

Metal Issued to members of the ...
Gold Royal Family and their guests
Silver Royal Household, Government ministers, senior officials, certain foreign visitors, military officers involved in the Jubilee Parade or the Naval Review at Spithead
Bronze Selected other ranks who participated in either the Jubilee Parade or Naval Review at Spithead

In all cases the medal was issued unnamed.

The obverse side contained  a profile of Queen Victoria, with the reverse side had a wreath which encloses the text "In Commemoration of the 50th Year of the Reign of Queen Victoria 21 June 1887".

To mark Queen Victoria's Diamond (60th) Jubilee in 1897, another medal was issued. This was identical to the 1887 version, except that the year and anniversary date were different. Holders of the 1887 medal received a "1897" clasp which was worn across the ribbon to the 1887 medal.

Jubilee (Police) Medal 1887

The Jubilee (Police) Medal 1887 was issued to all ranks of the Metropolitan and City of London Police Forces, who were involved in the Jubilee Parade and celebrations of Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee on 21 June 1887.

The medal itself was struck in bronze, with a diameter of 36 millimetres. The ribbon colour is blue. The medal's obverse side shows a veiled Queen Victoria profile, while the reverse side has a wreath with the text "Jubilee of Her Majesty Queen Victoria" and the force's name around the reverse's top. Unlike the Jubilee Medal 1887, this medal was issued named to the constable.

Holders of the 1887 medal were issued with the "1897" clasps to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee.

Coronation Medal 1902

This medal was issued in 1902 to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII. The medal is 42 millimetres in height and 30 millimetres wide. It was issued in silver to members of the Royal family, foreign dignitaries, senior government officials and service officers involved in the parade. Selected NCOs and other ranks involved in the parade received the medal in bronze.

The medal's obverse side has a profile of King Edward VII and his wife Queen Alexandra, while the reverse side has the date of the coronation ceremony (26 June 1902) below the Royal Cipher.

The ribbon was dark blue with one central red stripe with white edges on either side.

Coronation Medal 1911

This medal was issued in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of King George V. The silver medal is 32 millimetres in diameter. The ribbon is dark blue with two thin red stripes in its centre.

The medal's obverse side has a profile of King George V and his wife Queen Mary, while the reverse side has the crowned Royal Cipher above the date of the coronation.

This coronation medal set the precedent of being awarded to personnel who were not present at the coronation.

Jubilee Medal 1935

This medal was issued in 1935 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of King George V; 25 years on the throne. It was a silver medal, 32 millimetres in diameter. The ribbon was red with two dark blue and a white stripe at the edges.

The obverse side had a left-facing profile of King George V and Queen Mary. The reverse side had a crowned GRI monogram flanked by the dates of accession and jubilee.

Coronation Medal 1937

This medal was issued to commemorate the coronation of King George VI on 12 May 1937. The silver medal is 32 millimetres in diameter. The ribbon is blue edged with a red stripe and two white stripes.

The obverse side has a profile of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. The reverse side has a crowned GRI over the date of the coronation, and the names of the King and Queen around the reverse's circumference.

Coronation Medal 1953

This medal was issued in 1953 to commemorate the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The silver medal is 32 millimetres in diameter, with the Queen's profile on the obverse side. The text "Queen Elizabeth II Crowned 2nd June 1953" is round the circumference of the reverse side, with the royal monogram EIIR in the middle.

The medal's ribbon is dark red with two narrow blue stripes in the middle, with narrow white edges.

The news of Hillary and Tenzing's conquest of Mount Everest reached London on the morning of the coronation. After the coronation, members of the expedition were invited to Buckingham Palace, where they all received the Coronation Medal with the text "Mount Everest Expedition" on its rim.

Jubilee Medal 1977

This medal was issued in 1977 to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II. As with previous medals of this type, it is made from silver and is 32 millimetres in diameter. The ribbon is white with thin red stripes at the edges, and a broad blue stripe in the ribbon's middle which it itself divided by a thin red stripe.

The medal's obverse side has a profile image of Queen Elizabeth II, while the reverse side has a crown and a wreath with the words "The 25th year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II 6 February 1977".

A different reverse side was used in medals issued in Canada. This style of reverse side has the dates of the reign flanking the royal monogram EIIR round the foot of the reverse side, and a large maple leaf in the reverse's centre.

Queen's Golden Jubilee Medal 2002

This medal will be issued in June 2002 to mark the golden anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

It is anticipated that some 366,000 Golden Jubilee medals will be issued, compared to the approximately 30,000 1977 Silver Jubilee medals.

The Golden Jubilee 2002 medal will be issued to the following personnel:

  • All personnel who are in paid effective military service with the Royal Navy, Royal Marines, Army and Royal Air Force on 6 February 2002, who have completed 5 calendar years service and were enlisted on or before 7 February 1997.
  • All personnel who are in effective military service with the Volunteer Reserve Forces on 6 February 2002, completed five annual bounty earning training years and were enlisted on or before 7 February 1997. One of the bounty years must have been the year 2001-2002.
  • A member of the Regular Reserves who is in military service on 6 February 2002 become eligible if their aggregated Regular and Voluntary service amounts to the 5 year qualification period.
  • Any member of the Military Provost Guard Service whose MPGS paid service equates to the 5 year qualifying period.
  • Contracted Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel in service on 6 February 2002 who have completed the 5 years qualifying period.
  • Cadet Officers and Cadet Adult Instructors with a total of 5 training years service, providing the service period includes 6 February 2002 and they are part of an established post. The person must have started on or before 7 February 1997 and the year 2001-2002 must be part of the service period.
  • A member of the 'front line' emergency services, accessed via the telephone number 999, who have completed a minimum of 5 years reckonable service on 6 February 2002. The emergency services include the Police, Fire and Ambulance Services, the Coastguard, Royal National Lifeboat Institution and Mountain Rescue services.

The medal itself is cast in gilt-finished cupro-nickel.

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