Your cheeky guide to the dynasty

Tea Rex

Elizabeth R

Image via Wikipedia

Have you wondered what the “R” stands for when you’ve seen a Tudor monarch’s fancy-schmancy signature? “Elizabeth R” is not short for “Elizabeth Renee,” nor is “Henry R” short for “Henry Ricardo” or anything of the sort!Rather, the 13th letter of the alphabet is there as a reference to the Latin words rex (“king”) or regina (“queen”). 

I wish we used Latin half as much today as we used to. It has such a serious air to it! (Heck, I’d love to go to Mass in Latin if I could.)

But rex/regina isn’t just an old-school styling. Take a look at a modern-day pound coin. It says “Elizabeth II – D.G. – Reg. – F.D.” In Latin, that’s “Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina Fidei Defensor.” Translation: “Elizabeth II, by the grace of God (Dei Gratia), Queen (yep, Regina) and Defender of the Faith (Defensor).” Not only does the present monarch keep the cool Latin title, she’s also gets to show off Henry VIII’s title of Defender of the Faith.

Do you have a yearning for the words of yesteryear? Try an online beginner’s guide to Latin here. There is also a great list of Latin phrases here.  Bona fortuna!


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