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To celebrate Vikings Live, we have replaced our Roman alphabet with the runic alphabet used by the Vikings, the Scandinavian ‘Younger Futhark’. The ‘Younger Futhark’ has only 16 letters, so we have used some of the runic letters more than once or combined two runes for one Roman letter.

For an excellent introduction to runes, we recommend Martin Findell’s book published by British Museum Press.

More information about how we have ‘runified’ this site


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  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    Seal impression in dark green wax of the new Great Seal of Queen Elizabeth II.
    On the obverse: her majesty enthoned and enrobed, holding in her right hand a Sceptre and in her left the Orb. Inscribed round the edge: ELIZABETH . II . D .G .BRITT. REGNORVMQUE . SVORVM . CETER . REGINA . CONSORTIONIS P POPVLORVM . PRINCEPS / F . D. (Elizabeth II by the Grace of God of Great Britian and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith).
    On the reverse are the Royal Arms, including crest, mantling and supporters. Part of the motto HONI SOIT QUI MAL Y PENSE appears on the garter surrounding the shield of the Arms, while below is the Royal Motto DIEU ET MON DROIT.
    The impression is attached with silk cord to a parchment scroll.


  • Producer name

  • Date

    • 2001
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Diameter: 160 millimetres (impression)
    • Length: 284 millimetres (scroll)
  • Curator's comments

    This replaces the original Great Seal for Queen Elizabeth II of 1953. This new seal was brought into use by order of The Queen in Council on 18 July 2001, when the seal was approved by The Queen and handed to the Lord Chancellor, Lord Irvine, the keeper of the Great Seal. The silver seal itself was engraved at the Royal Mint and weighs 275 troy ounces. The artist was granted a Royal sitting for the image of the Queen enthroned.
    This is the first time in the history of Royal Heraldry that the Royal Arms have provided the main design for one side of the Great Seal.
    James Butler (born 1932) studied art at St Martin's School of Art and at the Royal College of Art and for ten years was a professional stone carver. He taught sculpture and drawing at the City & Guilds of London Art School and was visiting professor to the Royal Academy Schools. He was elected to the Royal Academy of Arts in 1964 and is a fellow of the Royal Society of British Sculptors. His numeorus public commissions include the Fleet Air Arm Memorial in Victoria Embankment Gardens.


  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition notes

    In accordance with former practice, sent at the direction of the Lord Chancellor.

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number


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Object reference number: MCT26378

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