From stamps and cash to the national anthem: the things that will change now Charles is King

9 September 2022, 11:47

Changes as the crown ascends to King Charles
Changes as the crown ascends to King Charles. Picture: Getty

By StephenRigley

As the world mourns the death of Queen Elizabeth II, iconic symbols and titles that bare her image and name will have to change as King Charles ascends to the throne.

Coins, notes, and stamps that currently show Queen Elizabeth’s portrait, will now need to be replaced with King Charles’ image. It will take time for new money to be designed and minted and for old money to be taken out of circulation. It took a year for the currency baring Queen Elizabeth’s profile to appear after her ascension in 1952. It is also likely that many people will chose to hold on to the current coins to remember the Queen.

A new portrait of King Charles III will now be taken of him as monarch. King Charles may have already sat for this in preparation, but a final image will still need his approval.

One significant change will be that King Charles III’ profile will face to the left, rather than to the right as is Queen Elizabeth II’s profile. This is a tradition that dates back to the 17th century, with each monarch alternating the way they face from their predecessors.

Queen Elizabeth has been depicted on currency throughout her 70 year reign
Queen Elizabeth has been depicted on currency throughout her 70 year reign. Picture: Getty

Once a new image is taken of King Charles, the Royal Mint Advisory Committee will review the new designs of coins, medals, seals, and decorations to be recommended to the government and for the new King’s approval.

Historically, the profile of the monarch depicted on coins has played an important role in being the only way many people would see monarch’s likeness in their lifetime, unlikely to ever see them in person before photography and television.

New stamps will depict King Charles III
New stamps will depict King Charles III. Picture: Getty

Unlikely to be changed or removed are the post-boxes emblazoned with the Queen’s ERII cypher, standing for Elizabeth Regina. Many of the post-boxes the Queen’s father, King George VI’s, GR cypher are still on around today. However, any new post-boxes will feature King Charles III’s CR cypher. This will also be the case for any military uniforms and police helmets that currently denote the ERII cypher. The crown that sits above the new CRIII cypher will also become a king’s crown, curving upwards, rather than a queen’s crown curving inwards.

Commonwealth governments, realms, states, provinces, and territories will now change from ‘His Majesty’s Government’ to ‘Her Majesty’s Government’. Her Majesty’s Prison Service will also follow, becoming His Majesty’s Prison, as will HM Passport Service, HM Armed forces, and any other public bodies with the HM prefix. Any new UK passports will also be issues with the new King’s name.

Postboxes with the Queen's cypher will remain
Postboxes with the Queen's cypher will remain. Picture: Getty

Barristers and solicitors who have been appointed by the monarch will change their title from Queen’s Counsel (QC) to King’s Counsel (KQ). In criminal cases, R will now stand for ‘Rex’ rather that ‘Regina’ (Latin for King and Queen).

One of the most noticeable changes will be that the national anthem will now become ‘God save our gracious King’. With the World Cup in Qatar coming up later this year, as well as the cricket T20 World Cup in Australia, the changes to the anthem will become incredibly prominent when sung before sporting events.