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King Charles carrying his official government duties from his red box in the Eighteenth Century Room at Buckingham Palace, London on September 11. Photo: Buckingham Palace/AFP

King Charles to gradually replace Queen Elizabeth on British banknotes from mid-2024

  • Queen Elizabeth’s image has appeared on at least 33 different currencies, according to the Guinness Book of World Records
  • The queen’s image was replaced on Hong Kong currency with the Bauhinia blakeana flower beginning in 1993
King Charles will slowly begin to replace his mother Queen Elizabeth on banknotes in Britain beginning in mid-2024, with the two monarchs likely appearing on British pounds for years after that, the Bank of England said on Tuesday.
In line with guidance from Buckingham Palace, existing stock of currency featuring Queen Elizabeth’s image will continue to circulate to minimise the environmental and financial effects of the change of monarch, the central bank said.
“New notes will only be printed to replace worn banknotes and to meet any overall increase in demand for banknotes,” the Bank of England said in a statement.

The Royal Mint separately confirmed on Tuesday that King Charles also will begin to appear on British coins at a later date.


Queen Elizabeth makes final journey to Windsor Castle after state funeral

Queen Elizabeth makes final journey to Windsor Castle after state funeral
“The first coins bearing the effigy of His Majesty King Charles III will enter circulation in line with demand from banks and post offices,” Anne Jessopp, the Royal Mint’s chief executive, said in a statement. “This means the coinage of King Charles III and Queen Elizabeth II will co-circulate in the UK for many years to come.”

Queen Elizabeth’s image has appeared on British banknotes since 1960 and appeared on at least 33 different currencies worldwide, the most of any monarch, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

There are 27 billion coins featuring her image in circulation in Britain, the Royal Mint said.

Her image appeared on Hong Kong currency until 1993 when coins in seven denominations, from 10 Hong Kong cents to HK$10 (US$1.27), were minted with the Bauhinia blakeana flower, which is also called the Hong Kong orchid.
A Hong Kong one-cent note featuring Queen Elizabeth’s image, which ceased to be legal tender in 1995. Photo: HKMA

Five British monarchs had been featured on the city’s legal tender during their reign since Queen Victoria in 1863. The change was made ahead of Hong Kong’s handover back to China in 1997.

The announcement comes just days before the last paper British pound banknotes are set to no longer be legal tender beginning on Friday. The only paper banknotes still in circulation are the £20 (US$21.59) and the £50.

The Bank of England introduced the first polymer banknotes in 2016, which were designed to last longer and be harder to counterfeit than older paper notes.

King Charles’s portrait will appear on existing designs of all four polymer banknotes in circulation – the £5, £10, £20 and £50 – and there will be no additional changes to the existing banknote designs. A cameo portrait of the king also will appear on the notes’ see-through security window.

King Charles III salutes as he leaves Westminster Abbey following the state funeral service of Queen Elizabeth on September 19. Photo: AP/Pool

Images of the new currency featuring King Charles will be revealed at a later date, according to the Bank of England and the Royal Mint.

The announcement also comes as the British pound fell to a record low against the US dollar on Monday and has declined against other currencies on concerns about the British government’s plan to address a cost-of-living crisis sparked by surging energy prices.

On Friday, Treasury chief Kwasi Kwarteng unveiled a plan to borrow £60 billion to help support households and businesses with their energy bills this winter, while introducing the biggest cut in taxes in Britain in a half-century to try to spur growth.

The plan has unnerved the markets, with the pound reaching a low of US$1.035 on Monday. The pound recovered some of those losses on Tuesday, rising 1.1 per cent to US$1.08 in midmorning trading in London.