The Great Seal of the Realm is a British institution by which the monarch can authorise official documents without having to sign each document individually. Wax is melted in a metal mold or matrix and impressed into a wax figure that is attached by cord or ribbon to documents that the monarch wishes to make official.
Edward the Confessor sometime before 1066 started using a Great Seal casting in wax of his own visage to signify that a document carried the force of his will. With some exceptions, each subsequent British monarch generally has chosen his or her own design for the Great Seal. Edward VIII, who abdicated the throne to marry Mrs. Wallis Simpson of the United States, did not find time to select the design for his own seal and continued to use the seal of his predecessor, George V. On the other hand, the longer-lived British monarchs have had several Great Seals during their reigns. Only one mold of the Great Seal exists at a time, and since the wax used for the Great Seal has a high melting point, the silver plates that cast the Seal eventually wear out. Queen Victoria had to select four different Great Seal designs during the sixty-three years of her reign.  (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=%2Fnews%2F2001%2F02%2F16%2Fnseal16.xml)
Within today's constitutional monarchy, the British sovereign implements the advice of the Government. Hence, the Great Seal is attached to the official documents of state that require the authorisation of the British monarch. Under today's implementation of the Great Seal, seals of dark green wax are affixed to documents authorizing the promotion of individuals to the peerage, blue seals authorize actions relating to the royal family, and scarlet seals appoint bishops and implement various other affairs of state.
The obverse represents the Queen on horseback in the uniform of the Colonel-in-Chief of the Grenadier Guards, and is inscribed "ELIZABETH.
Under today's implementation of the GreatSeal, seals of dark greenwax are affixed to documents authorizing the promotion of individuals to the peerage, blueseals authorize actions relating to the royal family, and scarletseals appoint bishops and implement various other affairs of state.
A seal is an impression printed on, embossed upon, or affixed to a document (or any other object) in order to authenticate it, in lieu of or in addition to a signaturesignature is a usually stylized version of someone's name written on documents as a proof of identity, like a seal, but handwritten.
Seals of this nature were applied directly to the face of the document or attached to the document by cords in the owner's, or to a narrow strip of the document sliced and folded down as a tail but not detached from the document.
Seals were used both to seal the item to prevent tampering, as well as to provide proof that the item was actually from the sender and is not a forgery.
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