People are just finding out what symbols 'GR' & 'ER' on postboxes mean
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Brits are only just coming to realise why certain postboxes feature unique letter combinations and how these ‘iconic symbols’ can be used to accurately pinpoint installation eras.
Ahead of the Coronation of King Charles III next weekend, the people of Britain have been adorning their local postboxes with creative knitted toppers featuring palace guards and crocheted crown jewels.
While these pillar boxes are drawing the attention of locals this week, you probably don’t take too much notice of these red boxes on the daily.
However, if you do look closely, you’ll discover that each humble postbox carries a unique series of letters on the front - and the reason behind them has surprised royal fans.
The Postal Museum explained that the royal cyphers signify which 'Monarch… was on the throne during [its] creation and subsequently what timeframe they are from'.
It added: “When the monarch changes, new pillar boxes do not replace old but are added to those in use, and this is why Britain has such an array of boxes."
According to The Postal Museum, some of Britain’s oldest postboxes have the royal cypher ‘VR’ on the front to signify the initials of Queen Victoria.
More recently-erected postboxes will feature the symbol ‘ER’ to honour the late Queen Elizabeth II.
This royal cypher stands for Elizabeth, Regina - with the former being the late monarch's given name and the latter translating to ‘Queen’ in Latin.
Another popular cypher you may see is ‘GR’ - with ‘G’ standing for King George V and ‘R’ standing for Rex, which directly translates as ‘King’ in Latin.
Now that King Charles III has taken to the throne, new postboxes are expected to feature the royal cypher ‘CR’.
Much like his predecessors, the ‘C’ initial stands for the current monarch's name, Charles, and ‘R’ is the Latin title Rex.
Despite some of these letterboxes being inscribed with various royal cyphers since 1852, some residents are only just coming to realise that the unique symbols exist now.
One royal fan said: “Posted many a card and letters in [postboxes] and lived around the corner [from one] over 60 years and didn’t know that!”
Another said upon learning about the royal cypher: “My youngest was absolutely fascinated by this and we’ve been spotting them."
However, not everyone is impressed by the sudden realisation of their peers.
One user wrote: “Anyone who did not know this in their teens is obviously unaware of the world directly around them. Too much time on social media and not enough of real world.”
Another agreed and savagely said: “If people don’t know what those cyphers mean then they shouldn’t be British.”
The Coronation of Charles III and Camila is set to take place on Saturday, 6 May 2023.