How King Charles’ Britain will be different to Queen Elizabeth’s: fresh banknotes and a new national anthem, but will he keep Trooping the Colour and the Christmas Day broadcast?

Queen Elizabeth II has died, passing on her crown to her son King Charles III who now has to decide how much to change in the royal family’s relationship with Britain. Photos: AP, TNS

When Queen Elizabeth II died peacefully at Balmoral on September 8, it signalled that life in the UK will never be the same again for the vast majority of residents, who have grown up knowing only one monarch.

British banknotes and coins, the national anthem and the line of succession to the throne are among the most notable major changes in life, but what else will change now that the beloved queen is gone?

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King Charles III succeeds to the throne

Britain’s King Charles III addresses both Houses of Parliament at Westminster on September 12, following the death of his mother Queen Elizabeth on September 8. Photo: AFP

Now that King Charles has succeeded to the throne, everyone in the line of succession has moved up a place. The royals most affected by this shift are the new monarch himself, of course, and his son Prince William, who is now first in line to the throne.

“Philip called it a firm – but it’s not a business,” royal historian Marlene Koenig said, talking about the queen’s husband, the late Prince Philip. “The only people who really matter in a monarchy are the sovereign and the heir to the throne. There’s no constitutional role for anyone else within the royal family.”

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A new national holiday

The Crown of Scotland sits atop the coffin of Queen Elizabeth at St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh on September 12. Photo: PA via AP

The UK began a 10-day period of national mourning on September 9, King Charles announced.

The stock market, stores and banks will close at certain times during this period, with the funeral on September 19 becoming a formal national holiday.

The queen’s portrait will be replaced on British money

As the United Kingdom’s reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth has been depicted on British banknotes and coins for decades, but she has also featured on currencies in dozens of other places around the world, many of them former British colonies. Photo: AP

British coins and banknotes, which have the queen’s portrait on them, will be replaced by new versions bearing a portrait of the new monarch, King Charles. However, the process of replacing the portrait could take a number of years due to the large number of banknotes currently in circulation, according to The Coin Expert. While the queen succeeded her father King George VI in 1952, she didn’t appear on a Bank of England note until 1960, according to the Bank of England.

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The lyrics of the national anthem have changed

The queen’s carriage is escorted by soldiers down the Mall to Buckingham Palace during the Trooping of the Colour, a parade held annually to honour the monarch’s official birthday. Photo: EPA

For 70 years, Britain’s national anthem has been “God Save the Queen”.

Now that the queen has been succeeded by her son, Charles, the lyrics will revert to the male version of the song, “God Save the King”.

King Charles’ wife Camilla has become queen consort

Britain’s King Charles III and Camilla, the queen consort, at the Houses of Parliament on September 12. Photo: AP
In a statement to the public on the eve of her Platinum Jubilee in February 2022, Queen Elizabeth expressed her wish for Camilla to be given the title of queen consort when Charles acceded to the throne.

“When, in the fullness of time, my son Charles becomes king, I know you will give him and his wife Camilla the same support you have given me, and it is my sincere wish that, when the time comes, Camilla will be known as queen consort as she continues her own loyal service,” she wrote.

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A new host of the annual Christmas broadcast

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth records the 2021 Christmas Day broadcast at Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, her last such broadcast in a tradition that dates back to 1932. Photo: AP

King George V was the first British monarch to address the public in a Christmas Day speech in 1932, according to the royal family website. The purpose of the annual speech was to reflect on the past year and on the meaning of Christmas.

The broadcast was a tradition upheld by Queen Elizabeth and became an “intrinsic part of Christmas Day festivities for many people across the Commonwealth”, the website adds.

It will be for the new monarch, Charles III, to decide whether to continue this tradition after her death.

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Parliamentary duties pass to the new monarch

Britain’s then-Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, took over from the queen at the State Opening of Parliament in May 2022, flanked by his wife, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and his son Prince William, Duke of Cambridge. Photo: AFP

Charles’ official duties as king will involve hosting a weekly audience with the prime minister, signing bills and giving a speech at the State Opening of Parliament, which marks the formal start of the parliamentary year.

Charles and Camilla accompanied the queen to Parliament in recent years.

Like the queen, the king will celebrate two birthdays

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth and her son, Prince Charles, Prince of Wales watch a special fly-past from Buckingham Palace balcony as part of her platinum jubilee celebrations in June 2022. Photo: AFP

Every June, the Trooping the Colour parade takes place at Buckingham Palace in celebration of the monarch’s official birthday. The parade is comprised of 1,400 parading soldiers, 200 horses and 400 musicians, according to the royal family website.

The UK public and people across the world often flock to London to witness the parade for themselves.

British sovereigns whose real birthdays fall in colder months celebrate a second birthday in the summer with the hope of good weather for their birthday parade. Since Prince Charles’ birthday is November 14, he could also choose to celebrate Trooping the Colour in June as his mother did before him.

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A reduced monarchy

King Charles III addresses the nation and the Commonwealth on September 9 following the death of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II. Photo: PA Wire/
It has been widely reported for several years that Charles plans to reduce the monarchy to a team of just eight key members, all senior working royals.

Although it’s not yet known whether this will now indeed happen, slimming down the monarchy would have a positive financial impact on British taxpayers. Reducing the number of royals who undertake official duties would mean reducing those who are funded by the sovereign grant, public funds used to support them.

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  • Prince Philip called the family ‘a firm’ which Charles may decide to shrink to save the taxpayers of Britain some money, though his wife Camilla will become queen consort
  • He could change Buckingham Palace traditions such as the Christmas Day broadcast or the Trooping the Colour ceremony to mark the monarch’s second, official birthday