Royal Cyphers

Royal Cyphers

A common sight in our everyday life, royal cyphers are a relatively modern device. The monogram of the current, and past, monarchs surround us in our everyday lives. They are on post boxes, telephone boxes, uniforms, carved into walls, and embossed on to the metalwork of the historic buildings of our everyday lives. A royal cypher is composed of the monarch’s first initial, R, a crown and a number

Cyphers were first used by the monarch in the 1400s, it was Henry VIII who first added the additional R, to denote Rex/Regina. The crown is usually a stylised version of the St Edward’s crown. 

The royal cypher for a new monarch is produced by the College of Arms (for England, Ireland, Wales and the Commonwealth) and the Court of the Lord Lyon (for Scotland). Cyphers used in Scotland use the Crown of Scotland and may have different numbers from their English counterpart. Queen Elizabeth’s cypher, for instance, does not have ‘II’ in the Scottish cypher as Elizabeth I was never Queen of Scotland.   

The new cypher for Charles III was recently released and will gradually begin to infiltrate our everyday lives. The King’s cypher includes a stylised form of the Tudor Crown, which differs from that used by his late mother. It has been announced that this new crown will gradually be included in the Royal Arms and in the badges used by the military and elsewhere.  

The introduction of the new cypher on uniforms, equipment etc will be a gradual process and it is intended this will happen only when items bearing the late Queen’s cypher need replacing. 

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