'Year of the 3 Kings 80th Anniversary' Commemorative Strike
1936 was a unique year in British history. King George V died on January 20th, just one year after his Silver Jubilee.
He was succeeded by his eldest son Edward VIII. Ever popularas a prince, Edward was, however, in love with an American divorcee, Wallis Simpson and was forced to choose between duty and love. Edward famously chose the latter and voluntarily abdicated 325 days into his reign. Edward's abdication was announced just eleven months into his reign, on December 11th.
His younger brother the Duke of York, affectionately known as 'Bertie' had not expected to inherit the throne. A shy man, struggling to overcome a speech defect, he was unprepared but warmly received and proclaimed King George VI on 12th December. George VI went onto become one of Britain's bestloved rulers leading the nation through World War II with his queen, Queen Elizabeth, later affectionately known as The Queen Mother. Their first-born daughter asa consequence became heiress to the throne and is now Elizabeth II, Britains longest ever reigning monarch.
The three portraits on the obverse of this commemorative strike are shown facing left. It is tradition that the effigy of each British monarch always faces in the opposite direction of his or her predecessor. However, unconventional Edward VIII broke with centuries of tradition as he believed his left side to be superior to his right and insisted on his image facing left, as his father's, George V's effigy had. No British coins bearing the portrait of Edward VIII were ever officially issued. So when George VI acceded to the throne, his image was also placed to face left, implying that, had any coins been minted with Edward's portrait the obverses would have depicted Edward facing right and thus the centuries' old tradition maintained.
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