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Queen Elizabeth II is now celebrating her Diamond Jubilee, 60 years as regent, how awesome is that! I thought this would be a good time to introduce crests. I don’t know if you remember, but a while ago I talked about ciphers and monograms. Crests are a little different. By definition as crest is: a symbol of a family or office, usually representing a beast or bird, borne in addition to a coat of arms and used in medieval times to decorate the helmet. In the case of Queen Elizabeth the crest represents both her family and her office. Some crests will include a cipher, but the cipher is not necessary in order for the crest to be recognized as belonging to a certain person. Here is the crest of Queen Elizabeth II:
I decided that I am going to start posting famous monograms and cyphers (can also be spelled cipher according to my OED). I think they are beautiful and I wish more people would use monograms and cyphers. They are like tiny pieces of art that can be very useful in everyday life.
What is the difference between a monogram and a cypher? A cypher is a person’s initials. A monogram is a person’s initials intertwined in some fashion. Some people use one or the other. Some people use both. Some people (they usually rule countries and what-not) have several for different purposes: public affairs, private affairs, laundry, etc.
For example, this is the official cypher of Queen Elizabeth II of England:
The lettering stands for Elizabeth II–Royal. And if you were still in doubt that this might be a royal cypher, there is a bejeweled crown to help you out.
This is the official monogram of Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (she has another for private use):
The lettering here stands for M -Margrethe, 2-II, R-Royal. See how the M is intertwined with the 2 and the R and how it is different from the cypher above? And once again, if your were too daft to get that this is a royal monogram, there is the crown.
Aren’t they neat?