DIEU ET MON DROIT Inscription on British Coins

Author: Lawrence Chard - Director and Expert Numismatist

Published: 1 Mar 2019

Last Updated: 20 Aug 2019

French inscription on British coins translates to English as 'God and my Right', presumably referring to the divine right of the monarch to rule.

Most of the inscriptions on British coins have traditionally been in Latin, and we are frequently asked what they mean, and also where they are found.

According to Wikipedia

Dieu et mon droit (French for God and my right, referring to the monarch's divine right to govern) has generally been used as the motto of the British monarch since it was adopted by the English king Henry V (1413-1422). Originally it was spelled Dieut et mon droict, the early Modern French spelling, but later the 't' in "Dieut" and the 'c' in "droict" were taken out in accordance with present French orthography. To this day, this motto is emblazoned on the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.
A French motto rather than English was chosen because the English language had only recently replaced French as the language of the English ruling classes. Henry, though of English parentage, spoke French and had claimed the title of King of France, which claims were acceded to after his military campaigns in France. The motto of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense (shame upon him who thinks evil of it), is also in French.
The phrase was allegedly first used as a password by King Richard I in 1198 at the Battle of Gisors, when he defeated the forces of Philip II of France. Its meaning was that Richard owed his royalty to no power other than God and his own heredity, and was therefore subject to no earthly power or other monarch. This can be taken as a direct reference to the doctrine of the Divine Right of Kings.
Dieu et mon droit was the inspiration for The Beatles' joke motto Duit on Mon Dei, later adopted as an album title by Harry Nilsson.

Dieu Et Mon Droit on British Coins

Dieu Et Mon Droit first appeared on George IV halfcrowns onwards.

DIEU ET DROIT

Inscription Dieu Et Mon Droit
Language French
Translation God and my Right
Where Used Halfcrowns of George IV, onwards
Where Used Reverse of 1983 Pound Royal Arms Design
Where Used Reverse of 1993 Pound Royal Arms Design
Where Used Reverse of 1998 Pound Royal Arms Design
Where Used Reverse of 2008 Pound Royal Arms Design

Dieu et Mon Droit First Appeared on Reverse George IV Halfcrowns

You may wish to visit some of our other pages:

Photo Gallery of Current British Coins

Value of my Coin. What's it Worth?

British Coin Denominations. What's a Groat,? etc.

Common Names of British Coins. What's a Tanner?

Engravers and Sculptors of British Coins

George V Inscriptions

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