Obverse: Crowned and veiled Jubilee bust of Queen Victoria left, wearing pearl-necklace and two orders. Legend: VICTORIA DEI GRATIA
Reverse: Crowned and quartered shield of arms within double order (Order of the Garter / Order of St. George) chain, splitting date (18-87). Order Motto: HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE ("Ashamed be he who thinks bad about it!"). Legend: BRITANNIARUM REGINA FID: DEF: / 1887
The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry, or knighthood, originating in medieval England. The Order is dedicated to the image and arms of St. George as England's Patron Saint, and is presently bestowed on recipients from British and other realms; it is the pinnacle of the honours system in the United Kingdom. Membership in the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than twenty-four members, or Companions; the order also comprises Supernumerary knights and ladies (e.g., members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs). Bestowing the honour has been described as one of the Monarch's few remaining truly personal, executive prerogatives.
Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 â€" 22 January 1901) was from 20 June 1837 the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and from 1 May 1876 the first Empress of India until her death. Her reign as Queen lasted 63 years and seven months, longer than that of any other British monarch to date. The period centred on her reign is known as the Victorian era.
Though Victoria ascended the throne at a time when the United Kingdom was already an established constitutional monarchy in which the king or queen held few political powers, she still served as a very important symbolic figure of her time. The Victorian era represented the height of the Industrial Revolution, a period of significant social, economic, and technological progress in the United Kingdom. Victoria's reign was marked by a great expansion of the British Empire; during this period it reached its zenith, becoming the foremost global power of the time.
Victoria, who was of almost entirely German descent, was the granddaughter of George III and the niece of her predecessor William IV. She arranged marriages for her nine children and forty-two grandchildren across the continent, tying Europe together; this earned her the nickname "the grandmother of Europe". She was the last British monarch of the House of Hanover; her son King Edward VII belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. Through her mother, she was also a first cousin twice removed of Maria Theresa, Holy Roman Empress.
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