Currency emblazoned with the image of King Charles III is not expected to enter circulation until mid-2024, the Bank of England said in a statement released early Tuesday morning, though the portrait of the king to be featured on the bank notes will be revealed by the end of this year.
King Charles will appear on four bank notes — the £5, £10, £20 and £50 notes — and there will be no changes to those notes beyond replacing Queen Elizabeth II’s image with King Charles’s, according to the statement from the bank.
Queen Elizabeth’s image won’t disappear from the currency overnight. In keeping with guidance from the royal family to “minimize the environmental and financial impact of the change of monarch,” notes with Queen Elizabeth’s image on them will be removed from circulation only if they become “worn or damaged,” the bank said. New notes with King Charles’s image will be made to “replace worn bank notes and to meet any overall increase in demand for bank notes.”
A similar transition will occur with British coins featuring Queen Elizabeth. According to the Royal Mint, the process of producing and putting into circulation coins featuring the portrait of King Charles will take at least several months.
And the transition to the King Charles coins will be gradual. Coins bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth will stay in circulation as coins with King Charles on them are introduced. There are nearly 30 billion coins with Queen Elizabeth’s face on them, which, like the bank notes, will be replaced only once they are damaged or to meet a demand for more coins, according to a statement also on Tuesday from the Royal Mint.
“This means the coinage of King Charles III and Queen Elizabeth II will co-circulate in the U.K. for many years to come,” said Anne Jessopp, the chief executive of the Royal Mint.
While details have not been released about the image of King Charles that will appear on the coins, it must be approved by the Privy Council, a group of high-level advisers to the monarch.
On the coins that feature Queen Elizabeth, she faces to the right. Since the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, monarchs have faced in the opposite direction of their predecessors, with the exception of Edward VIII. The Royal Mint has not confirmed which way King Charles will face.
Queen Elizabeth’s death has raised questions about the use of her image on not just currency but also on everyday items — like ketchup bottles, stamps and mailboxes. Experts say replacing her image on these objects will not be a major expense compared with the overall cost of the monarchy.