What are the ‘Royal Tudor Beasts’ and why do they feature on UK £5 coins?

In 2017, The Royal Mint revealed a series of base metal UK £5 coins featuring an intriguing range of heraldic creatures called the ‘Queen’s Beasts’.

Following on from the huge popularity of those coins, a new series of £5 coins has been revealed, that will take you back to the time of King Henry VIII and the mighty Tudor dynasty!

Ten heraldic beasts have stood guard, still, and silent on the Moat Bridge of Hampton Court Palace for hundreds of years, representing the royal lineage of King Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

2024 UK Tudor Dragon £5

The Royal Tudor Beasts series continues with the 2024 UK Tudor Dragon £5. The Tudor Dragon is the last of the 10 King’s Beasts you’ll pass on the moat bridge before entering Hampton Court Palace.

The dragon represents the Welsh lineage of the Tudor dynasty, and has been associated with Wales for centuries since it was adopted by Henry VIII. The red dragon even features on the Welsh flag to this day.

Sculptor David Lawrence aimed to portray all of the heraldic beasts in the Tudor Beasts series in a natural and realistic way. He worked in collaboration with the experts at Historic Royal Palaces on his design, which shows the Tudor Dragon in all its majestic glory, holding a shield emblazoned with the Beaufort Portcullis badge.

Secure your 2024 UK Tudor Dragon £5 in CERTIFIED Brilliant Uncirculated quality for just £13.99 >>

2024 UK Seymour Unicorn £5

The Seymour Unicorn, believed to be the strongest of all creatures, is one of ten magnificent King’s Beasts sculptures you’ll find if you visit Hampton Court Palace. ​

The reverse design features an exquisite engraving of the Seymour Unicorn in all its majestic glory by sculptor, David Lawrence. It was also only the second coin in the Tudor Beasts series to feature King Charles III on the obverse.

Before it was chosen by Henry VIII to flank the Moat Bridge of Hampton Court Palace, the unicorn was rarely used as a royal heraldic beast. The monarch’s decision to choose the unicorn may have been motivated by his desperation to have a son with his third wife, Jane Seymour, as the unicorn is thought to represent purity and fertility. 

Secure your 2024 UK Seymour Unicorn £5 in CERTIFIED Brilliant Uncirculated quality for just £13.99(+p&p) >>

2023 UK Bull of Clarence £5

The Bull of Clarence joined The Royal Mint’s Tudor Beasts Collection, representing bravery and wealth!

Excitingly, this was the FIRST coin in the series to feature King Charles III’s effigy! The first three coins in the series have featured Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s portrait, making it one of just a few duel-portrait series!

Looking back at British history, the Bull of Clarence was particularly popular with royals. It was once used by the first Duke of Clarence as a Yorkist badge, and then later by Henry VIII!

Like the other seven beasts, a statue of the Royal Bull resides outside Hampton Court Palace. But, the Tudor beasts once found home in Henry VIII’s Privy Garden at the palace, used to emphasise his legitimacy as a king!

Secure the 2023 UK Bull of Clarence £5 in Brilliant Uncirculated quality >>

2023 UK Yale of Beaufort £5

**No longer available at The Mint**

Issued as one of only two UK £5 coins dated 2023 to feature the Queen’s portrait, this coin is now off sale at the mint and set to become increasingly sought-after…

As you cross the Moat Bridge of Hampton Court Palace, you’ll see the peculiar statue of the Yale of Beaufort, Arms of Jane Seymour in its possession. It’s said that Henry VIII gave this beast to his new wife – and what a gift it was!

With a mixture of antelope, lion and boar-like features, it is certainly a sight to behold, but especially so on the UK £5 coin designed by David Lawrence. The design surely captures the power associated with the Beaufort family, who Seymour had familial ties with through her brother, Edward.

Secure your 2023 UK Yale of Beaufort £5 here >>

2022 UK Lion of England £5

**No longer available at The Mint**

One of the first beasts to greet you on the Moat Bridge of Hampton Court Palace, the crowned Lion of England supports a shield bearing the combination of two coats of arms – of Henry VIII and Jane Seymour.

A brave and ferocious lion has featured on the shield of England for as long as it has existed. Representing English courage, strength, dignity, and pride, this beast remains an iconic heraldic symbol to this very day.

Designed by David Lawrence, this £5 coin shows the crowned Lion in a powerful stance. Its lips are curled, exposing the ferocious grimace of teeth, and its claws clasp tightly around the shield of arms it stands to protect.

This coin is no longer available at The Royal Mint, but you can order your 2022 UK Lion of England £5 coin for JUST £24.99 (+p&p) today by clicking here >>

2022 UK Seymour Panther £5

**No longer available at The Mint**

The Seymour Panther was gifted to Jane Seymour by King Henry VIII from the royal treasury of beasts. It is one of the ten magnificent King’s Beasts sculptures you’ll find if you visit Hampton Court Palace.

The exquisite reverse design of this £5 coin, by David Lawrence, depicts the panther in all its glory, with flames coming out of its mouth and ears. Known for its intoxicating breath, the Seymour Panther represents the union between the mighty King Henry VIII and his wife, Jane Seymour.

The 2022 UK Seymour Panther £5. Secure yours here >>

This coin was the very first issue in The Royal Mint’s Tudor Beasts Collection, and it is no longer available from The Royal Mint. You can order your 2022 UK Seymour Panther £5 coin for £24.99 (+p&p) today by clicking here >>

The heraldic beasts of the Tudor dynasty

Over 400 years ago Henry VIII commissioned the sculpting of 10 heraldic animal statues. They were produced to represent the ancestry of King Henry VIII and his third wife Jane Seymour.

These became known as “The King’s Beasts” and can still be seen to this day, guarding the main entrance to Hampton Court Palace. One of the responsibilities of the beasts is to support various shields which themselves have symbols known as badges.

The Tudor Beasts outside of Hampton Court Palace. Credit: Wikimedia Commons.

King Henry VIII had numerous beasts decorating Hampton Court where the Queen’s own beasts now reside. The Tudor Beasts are: the Lion of England, the Royal Dragon, the Tudor Dragon, the Black Bull of Clarence, the Yale of Beaufort, the White Lion of Mortimer, the White Greyhound of Richmond, the Seymour Lion, the Seymour Panther and the Seymour Unicorn.

The Queen’s ten beasts were modeled after these creatures and guarded her coronation in 1952. Woodford, the sculptor instructed to produce these ten new statues, did not produce exact replicas to those of Henry VIII’s beasts, as these would have had little connection with Her Majesty’s own family or ancestry.

Now that you know about the history of the Tudor creatures, which beast are you excited to see featured on our £5 coin? Let us know in the comments below!

Continue your Tudor Beasts £5 Collection

Secure the 2024 UK Tudor Dragon £5 for your collection today >>

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