British royal engagement coin unveiled to complaints

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The design of a souvenir coin commemorating the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton next year was unveiled Thursday amid complaints the couple are barely recognisable.

The profile image of William on the coin bears a passing resemblance to the second-in-line to the throne, but Middleton appears to have gained weight.

Ingrid Seward, the editor of Majesty Magazine, told Sky News she was disgusted by the design.

"This coin is of historical importance. To get it so wrong seems ridiculous," she said.

The royal couple's heads are ringed by a script that reads: "Celebrating the engagement of William and Catherine."

The coin was approved by William and Queen Elizabeth II, his grandmother, who appears on the reverse.

"The inspiration for the design came from photographs of the couple at a sporting event," said a Royal Mint spokesman.

"The play on the traditional portrait is that Prince William is seen in profile, alluding to his royal status."

Asked about the image of Middleton, the spokesman stressed that the design "does go though a rigorous approval process".

The coin is available in four different metals, from cupro-nickel, priced at 9.99 pounds (11.75 euros, 15.40 dollars), to a 22-carat gold version costing 1,550 pounds.

The couple got engaged while on holiday in Kenya in October and will marry at Westminster Abbey in London on April 29.

© 2010 AFP

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