New king, new coins and new emblems. The proclamation of Carlos III as monarch of the British crown comes with important news. Some of them have become effective after the end of the mourning period after the death of Elizabeth II, on September 8, and others will take a while to arrive. After 70 years on the throne, the name and face of the Queen of England is very present in the British and in their pockets, something that is gradually beginning to change. This Friday, the British Royal Mint has revealed what the future currency of the United Kingdom will look like in homage to the new king. Of course, there are currently more than 29,000 million coins circulating with the effigy of the queen, so the exchange of one for another will be a process of months (and even years).
The portrait of Carlos III, which will appear on the 50 pence coins, will begin to be distributed gradually from next December. The new design is the work of sculptor Martin Jennings and it shows the king looking to the left, contrary to how Queen Elizabeth II appeared on coins, following the tradition imposed by Charles II in which each monarch had to look in the direction contrary to its predecessor.
“It is the smallest work I have ever created, but it is humbling to know that it will be seen and supported by people all over the world for centuries to come,” explained its creator. In the official effigy, the monarch does not wear a crown and appears surrounded by a Latin inscription that translates as: “King Carlos III, by the grace of God, defender of the faith.” It was the king himself who gave his approval to the portrait before it was presented. From 2023, more coins will be minted: from a penny to two pounds.
We are proud to unveil the first official coin portrait of King Charles III which has been designed by Martin Jennings FRSS and personally approved by His Majesty.
The first coins to feature the effigy are part of a memorial collection for Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. pic.twitter.com/umrUBbUCBr
— The Royal Mint (@RoyalMintUK) September 29, 2022
This addition will circulate alongside the existing coins bearing the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II for years to come, although those of the monarch will gradually be phased out. The Royal Mint has been producing coins for the UK for over 1,100 years, including those for the 70th anniversary of Elizabeth II’s reign. “The coins were the only way people could know what the monarch looked like, not in the days of social networks like now,” explained Anne Jessopp, director of the institution, “the portrait will be in each and every one of the coins as we go along.”
In turn, as of October 3, a set of commemorative coins of the reign, life and legacy of Elizabeth II will be launched. The five pound coins will be struck with two portraits: one from her early years in her reign and the second from her last years.
With the death of Isabel II, not only the portrait on the coins or the god save the queen for him god save the king, a new royal emblem has also had to be designed. Last Tuesday, once the official mourning was over, Carlos’ new royal seal was presented. This can be viewed as soon as the change is made in different places such as mailboxes, stamps, government buildings, military gala uniforms or personnel working for the king. The emblem consists of a large ‘C’ for Charles (Carolus in Latin), intertwined with an ‘R’ for king (Rex in Latin) and accompanied by a ‘III’ inside the join. You can also see a crown on top, a symbol that does not appear on the new coins.
Little by little, the image of Isabel II will disappear and in its place, although it will take some time, the new designs will be seen in honor of a king already proclaimed, but not yet crowned.