Taking the King’s Shilling
The King’s shilling, sometimes called the Queen’s shilling when the Sovereign is female, is a historical slang term referring to the earnest payment of one shilling given to recruits to the Armed forces of the United Kingdom in the 18th and 19th centuries, although the practice dates back to the end of the English Civil War. To take the King’s shilling was to agree to serve as a sailor or soldier in the Royal Navy or the British Army. It is closely related to the act of impressment. The practice officially stopped in 1879, although the term is still used informally.