What will happen with currency and stamps?

We, the British public, have long looked upon the right royal likeness of the Queen on bank notes, stamps and coins on a daily basis for more than 70 years.

Prince Charles, visiting the Royal Mint in 2017. The new King's image will eventually appear on newly minted coins (photo: Getty Images)
Prince Charles, visiting the Royal Mint in 2017. The new King's image will eventually appear on newly minted coins (photo: Getty Images)

But all that is about to change with accession to the throne of King Charles III.

The new monarch’s profile and face will grace what the Queen’s face once graced but with a slight twist.

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In keeping with hundreds of years of tradition, dating back to the 17th century, the new King’s likeness will face to the left on coins, the opposite direction to the way the Queen faces now.

The Queen's image on stamps will eventually be replaced by King Charles III (photo: Getty Images)
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Ever since Charles II's reign each new monarch faces in the opposite direction on coins to the previous one.

This will be a gradual process and could take many months and the Royal Mint has not said when it will start issuing coins bearing the King’s head.

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The Royal Mint has said there are currently 29 billion coins in circulation in the UK with Queen Elizabeth’s head on them, and there are more than 4.7 billion Bank of England notes in circulation, all bearing her image.

As coins and notes bearing the Queen’s image are phased out, banks and post offices will issue the newly designed coins and notes and collect the older versions.

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New coins bearing King Charles III’s image will eventually be commissioned and printed by the Royal Mint after final designs are approved by the Chancellor and the King.

It is not yet known what the image of King Charles will look like on new coins but a coin specially commissioned for his 70th birthday may give a hint.

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The Queen’s likeness currently features on the currency of 35 countries across the globe, including Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Fiji, and Cyprus and all this currency will have to change.

Stamps also bearing King Charles III’s likeness will also eventually come into circulation, but stamps bearing the Queen’s likeness will be valid for some time.

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It is not yet known when stamps bearing the likeness of King Charles III will be issued. However, the final design for the stamps, as with the coins, will firstly have to be approved by Charles.

Queen Elizabeth II approved all new stamp designs.

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It is likely that all Royal Mail vehicles that bear the Queen’s cipher will also be updated to bear the new King’s cipher.

Post boxes have carried a monogram of the reigning monarch since they were first introduced in 1853, carrying the monarch’s initials and title.

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More than 60 per cent of the UK's 115,000 postboxes carry the EIIR mark of Queen Elizabeth II.

As for post boxes changing their monograms it is only on new ones that Charles III’s iconography will be introduced.

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There are still boxes from the reigns of George V, George VI and even Queen Victoria.

British passports issued in the name of the Queen say "Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary."

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All passports bearing these words will eventually be phased out and replaced. Wording on the inside of the front cover of new blue passports (after Brexit) will be updated to His Majesty.

In addition, police forces in England and Wales that carry the royal cipher of Queen Elizabeth II on their helmet plates will have to change them.