During the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, a remarkable sight unfolded as ten heraldic beasts stood guard. Known as the Queen's Beasts, these majestic sculptures were crafted by James Woodford RA specifically for the 1953 coronation ceremony held at Westminster Abbey. Standing at an impressive height of six feet, these heraldic creatures represented the diverse strands of royal ancestry coming together in a young woman about to be crowned queen. Each proud beast, serving as a heraldic badge for preceding generations, drew inspiration from the King's Beasts of Henry VIII, which still adorn the bridge over the moat at Hampton Court Palace.
Among the Queen's Beasts, the Lion of England holds a special place. It is a crowned golden lion that has served as a supporter of the Royal Arms since the reign of James I in 1603. With grace and strength, the Lion of England upholds a shield that displays the Arms of the United Kingdom as they have been since Queen Victoria ascended the throne in 1837. The shield's first and last quarters bear the lions of England, while the second quarter features the lion and treasure of Scotland, and the third quarter displays the harp of Ireland.