The seventh coin in the stunning new series of £2 Bi-Metal Coins featuring the Queen’s Beasts. The coin, issued on behalf of the British Indian Ocean Territory, features the Unicorn of Scotland. The Unicorn of Scotland’s relation to the Queen come from James I, the first Stuart king of England who ruled a unified England and Scotland in the 17th century. The unicorn is one of the Queen’s Beasts but it is also the national animal of Scotland.
From the end of the 16th century, two unicorns were adopted as the supporters of the Scottish Royal Arms. In Celtic mythology the unicorn was a symbol of purity and innocence, as well as masculinity and power. Tales of dominance and chivalry associated with the unicorn may be why it was chosen as their national animal. In 1603 the Crown of England passed to James VI of Scotland, who then became James I of England. He took as supporters of his royal arms a crowned lion of England and one of his Scottish unicorns. The design on the coin shows a unicorn with a gold collar and chain attached to its neck holding a shield showing the royal arms of Scotland and a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory. The Queen’s Beasts are ten heraldic statues representing the genealogy of Queen Elizabeth II which are depicted as the Royal supporters of England with each one consisting of a heraldic beast supporting a shield bearing the badge or arms of a family associated with the ancestry of Queen Elizabeth II. The original statues were commissioned to stand at an entrance of Westminster Abbey for Her Majesty’s Coronation in 1953. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her 95th Birthday in 2021 and we therefore felt that a series of coins featuring the Queen’s Beasts would be a perfect tribute to celebrate this event, a milestone that no other Monarch has reached. The obverse of the coin features the Pobjoy Mint exclusive effigy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.