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King Charles banknotes enter circulation

NEW banknotes featuring the portrait of King Charles III have now entered circulation. However, it may take some time before they are commonly seen in wallets and purses.

The new Bank of England notes will gradually replace those that are damaged or will be issued when demand increases. King Charles is only the second monarch to appear on these notes, with Queen Elizabeth II first featuring in 1960. Shoppers can still use the current circulating £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes bearing the portrait of the late Queen.

The reverse side of the current polymer Bank of England banknotes, which feature Sir Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, JMW Turner, and Alan Turing in ascending order, remains unchanged. Notes issued in Scotland and Northern Ireland feature different images and do not depict the monarch.

The first new banknotes were printed last year, with the long lead-in time allowing automated machines that accept cash to be updated to recognise the new designs. The King’s portrait is based on a photograph taken in 2013.

A year later, the King was presented with a full set of notes with the lowest serial numbers, following the tradition of the monarch receiving the first issues of new banknotes. Collectors seek banknotes with serial numbers as close to 00001 as possible.

Where the King’s Image Now Features

  • Coins (December 2022): Millions of 50p coins with the King’s image entered circulation. Other new coin designs, such as a bee on the pound coin, were introduced towards the end of 2023.
  • Stamps (March 2023): The first King Charles stamps were issued by Royal Mail as part of a special set. The following month, new regular first and second-class stamps were issued, showing the King without his crown.
  • Passports (July 2023): British passports in the name of “His Majesty” rather than “Her Majesty” were issued.
  • Official Portrait (January 2024): Public buildings, such as town halls and courts, were offered an official photo of the monarch, taken at Windsor Castle.
  • Tudor Crown (February 2024): King Charles’s preferred design of the crown was introduced on platforms such as the gov.uk website and official buildings.
  • Banknotes (June 2024): The Bank of England issued £5, £10, £20, and £50 banknotes with the King’s portrait, based on a photograph taken in 2013.
  • Postboxes: Postboxes are only changed when they are damaged or scheduled for extensive repair, meaning there are still examples from Queen Victoria’s reign. This is likely to be one of the public symbols slower to change.

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