Wednesday, Aug. 05, 2009

It's All About the Elizabeths

From Australia to Trinidad and Tobago, Queen Elizabeth II's portrait has graced the currencies of 33 different countries — more than that of any other individual. Canada was the first to use the British monarch's image, in 1935, when it printed the 9-year-old Princess on its $20 notes. Over the years, 26 different portraits of Elizabeth have been used in the U.K. and its current and former colonies, dominions and territories — most of which were commissioned with the direct purpose of putting them on banknotes. However, some countries, such as Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Malta and Fiji, used already existing portraits. The Queen is frequently shown in formal crown-and-scepter attire, although Canada and Australia prefer to depict her in a plain dress and pearls. And while many countries update their currencies to reflect the Queen's advancing age, others enjoy keeping her young. When Belize redesigned its currency in 1980, it selected a portrait that was already 20 years old.