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King Charles III: The first banknotes featuring the UK’s new monarch unveiled by the Bank of England

origin 1A BoE photograph released on 19 December 2022 shows the design of the new polymer £5 notes with a portrait of Great Britain’s King Charles III. ©Bank of England/AFP

The first banknotes featuring the image of King Charles III have been unveiled by the Bank of England.

They will enter circulation from mid-2024 and will progressively replace those depicting his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, who died in September after 70 years on the throne.

The new banknotes feature a portrait of Charles on the face, as well as a smaller image of the monarch in the clear security window of the banknotes, but are otherwise unchanged from their current designs.

“The King’s portrait will appear on existing designs of all four polymer banknotes (£5, £10, £20 and £50), with no other changes to existing designs,” This was stated by the Bank of England in a statement.

“This is a significant moment, as The King is only the second monarch to appear on our banknotes,” BoE Governor Andrew Bailey said.

Queen Elizabeth II first appeared on BoE banknotes in 1960, unlike British coins which have long featured images of the country’s rulers.

The portrait is an etching made from a photo “provided by the royal family in 2013” and the designs, finalized in recent months, have been approved by the monarch, a Bank of England spokesman told AFP.

The new banknotes will only be printed when the old ones featuring Queen Elizabeth are used up, “to minimize the environmental and financial impact of this change” according to the bank. So the two types of banknote will both be in circulation for a few years.

The polymer notes – which have been gradually replacing paper money in the UK since 2016 – will be mass-produced from the first half of 2023 before entering circulation the following year.

Britain’s Royal Mint began issuing the first coins featuring Charles’ profile in general circulation on 8 December.

Around 27 billion coins featuring the face of the late Elizabeth II are currently in circulation in the UK: they too will remain valid and will only be replaced if damaged or worn.