Image Credit: Getty / VICTORIA JONES/POOL/AFP
Not only was Queen Elizabeth II the only monarch most of us have ever known, her portrait is synonymous with money in Britain. It’s hard to imagine the British currency without its image. But many things are likely to change after her death on September 8, including the way money looks in the UK. Not only will your portrait be replaced by the new monarch, King Charles III, but the orientation of his portrait will also change.
Can money still be used with the Queen’s face?
First, there is no need to panic. Any cash you have is still legal tender. However, it will be phased out over time and replaced by banknotes and coins bearing images of her son King Charles III. be replaced.
What happens to the money after the Queen dies?
A new portrait of King Charles III is likely to be commissioned shortly and the Royal Mint will print millions of pounds of new money. This will likely be a very gradual process, and it certainly won’t happen any time soon. An announcement from the Bank of England is expected in the coming weeks to explain how this will work.
Money with the Queen will likely circulate for years. Jon White, Director of The Britannia Coin Company, told GB News: “In our lives we will continue to see Queen Elizabeth II coins, only over the years will we gradually see new Charles III coins creeping in. They will sit next to each other and you can still spend them. As time goes on, money and coins in circulation are presented with the new king.
Also, it is worth remembering that this affects not only British currency, but also money from Commonwealth countries. According to Guinness World Records, the Queen appears on the money of at least 33 countries, including Australia, Fiji, Canada and Cyprus. Each of these countries will also attempt to exchange their money, but will be directed by their individual systems via schedules.
Since she became Head of State in 1952, there have been five different portraits of the Queen on our money, with the latest iteration in 2015. Interestingly, the UK Treasury gave the Bank of England permission to use the Queen’s portrait in 1956, but the money only became used four years later. The first note to use her image was the £1 note, but she was criticized for being too strict in her likeness.
According to the Bank of England, there are currently over 4.7 billion banknotes and 29 billion coins in circulation. While the phased process is expected to take years, there will be a significant difference with King Charles’ money. We’re used to seeing the Queen’s profile to the right, but the new monarch will be looking to the left. The Royal Family’s official website states: “Since Charles II, a tradition has developed of monarchs pointing in the opposite direction to their immediate predecessors on the coins.”