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'A new era in history': First British passports issued in King Charles' name
18 July 2023, 21:30
The first British passports bearing the title "His Majesty" and issued in the name of King Charles will start being rolled out this week.
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The new passports will be introduced in a phased approach until all remaining stock featuring "Her Majesty" is exhausted.
It marks the first time since 1952 - the end of the reign of the last male monarch, King George VI - that passports have been issued under the title "His Majesty" for King Charles.
The first page contains a representation of the Royal Arms and will now read: "His Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of His 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."
But those issued in the name of the late Queen remain valid travel documents.
Home Secretary Suella Braverman described it as a "new era in history", adding: "For 70 years, Her Majesty has appeared on British passports and many of us will not remember a time when she did not feature.
"Today marks a significant moment in UK history as the first British passports since 1952 start featuring the title of His Majesty, the King."
Ms Braverman called on people who need to update their passports to apply well in advance.
"While vast improvements have been made, I continue to urge the public to make sure they apply for passports in good time," she said.
Last year, 95.4% of passports were issued within the 10-week timeframe.
A damning report by the Public Accounts Committee found hundreds of thousands of passport applicants were let down by "unacceptable delays" in 2022.
It said people were unable to travel for family emergencies, lost money spent on holidays or had difficulty proving their identity, and that the "confusion and frustration of customers" was exacerbated by weaknesses in how the Passport Office tracked processing times and the performance of its contractors.
Blue passports were brought back in 2020 - for the first time in almost three decades - following Brexit.