Belfast Telegraph

State Papers revealed: Proposals to put Irish elk on new NI pound coin prompted royal row in 1986

By Michael McHugh

Officials locked antlers after proposals to put an Irish elk on a new pound coin in Northern Ireland prompted a royal row in 1986.

The extinct deer, which had been used by the former government of Northern Ireland, was seen as "broadly acceptable" to nationalists and unionists.

But it stumbled into rougher ground after someone pointed out using the symbol on a shield did not have the status of a royal badge and there was no time to apply for a special warrant.

Whether to emboss the relief of the noble-looking animal on the new coin had been deferred in 1986 after the Royal College of Arms said a new badge for Northern Ireland would have to be granted by the Queen.

In 1991, after much consideration, the NIO confirmed that the Secretary of State had agreed to an image of an elk without the problem-causing shield.

Symbols like the Red Hand and crown and harps had been avoided in the past, the file said.

Belfast Telegraph

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