The idea of replacing the Maklouf portrait had its origins in a competition held by The Royal Mint to design the obverse of the 1997 Golden Wedding crown. Such was the standard of the entries for the conjoint portrait of The Queen and Prince Philip that it was decided to explore the possibility of a new standard portrait for the circulating coins as well.
The winning design by Ian Rank-Broadley FRBS – introduced in 1998 – makes an interesting contrast with its immediate predecessor, being less idealised and more strongly realistic. So far as Mr Rank-Broadley was concerned, there was ‘no need to disguise the matureness of the Queen’s years. There is no need to flatter her. She is a 70-year-old woman with poise and bearing’. Conscious that the coinage was getting smaller – the 5p, 10p and 50p coins having been reduced in size in 1990, 1992 and 1997 respectively – he also deliberately made the image as large as possible within the framework of the coin’s outer edge.