Britain, Commonwealth nations to update money with the face of King Charles III


With the death of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II, her son and successor King Charles III will soon be featured on the currency of Britain and other countries that consider him head of state.

Queen Elizabeth II was the first monarch featured on British banknotes along with coins, which have borne the faces of monarchs for centuries.

King Charles III’s coinage will have his face facing left, whereas Queen Elizabeth II’s coins face to the right. British monarchs have switched directions on coinage after succession since 1660 when King Charles II restored the monarchy.

“Current banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen will continue to be legal tender. A further announcement regarding existing Bank of England banknotes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed,” the Bank of England said in a statement.

Former British colonies that still keep the monarch as their head of state, however, may take a different tack.

In Canada, Queen Elizabeth II started appearing on currency before World War II. She was featured on the Canadian $20 bill in 1935 when she was only nine years old.

“The current polymer $20 bank note is intended to circulate for years to come. There is no legislative requirement to change the design within a prescribed period when the Monarch changes,” Bank of Canada spokesperson Paul Badertscher told Fortune.

Australia has confirmed that King Charles III will, like his mother, feature on the $5 banknote. Queen Elizabeth II $5 notes will remain in circulation.

“The reigning monarch has traditionally appeared on the lowest denomination of Australian banknote,” the Reserve Bank of Australia told the Australian Associated Press.

In neighboring New Zealand, stocks of Queen Elizabeth II coins and banknotes are high, and the printing and minting of King Charles III on money depend more on those stocks than on sentiment.

“When our mints start production of NZ [currency] would relate less to a change of sovereign than to our current stock levels reaching the point that they’re needed… We manufacture these notes infrequently and do not plan to destroy stock or shorten the life of existing banknotes just because they show the Queen,” the Reserve Bank of New Zealand told Stuff.


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