Bank notes pound

King aims to reduce environmental impact of new stamps and banknotes

Image credit: File photo dated 24/01/18 of UK banknotes.

The introduction of new banknotes and stamps featuring the King’s image is expected to be implemented in a way to reduce the “environmental and financial impact” of the changes.

The Royal Mail and Bank of England said they have received guidance from King Charles’s royal household aimed at minimising cost and ensuring a sustainable transition when changing the UK's banknotes and stamps to bear the King's image.

Updated banknotes bearing the portrait of the King will be revealed by the end of the year, the Bank of England has said. The notes are expected to enter circulation by mid-2024 with the new portrait appearing on existing designs of the £5, £10, £20 and £50 banknotes.

The Royal Mail also confirmed the King’s image will replace the Queen on new 1st and 2nd Class definitive stamps, as well as all those of other values. Issues of special stamps will also feature a silhouette of King Charles.

“In line with guidance from the Royal Household, to minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change of monarch, existing stocks of definitive stamps that feature the late Queen and the special stamps which use her silhouette, will be distributed and issued as planned," the Royal Mail said. 

"The launch dates of some of the special stamps may change. New stamps featuring King Charles will enter circulation once current stocks of stamps are exhausted.”

The Bank of England issued a press release with similar wording, saying existing stocks of notes featuring the Queen would continue to be issued and new notes only printed to replace worn ones and to meet the demand for notes. Notes featuring the Queen’s portrait would continue to be legal tender and only removed if worn or damaged.

Coins featuring the late monarch will also remain legal tender and in active circulation to ensure a smooth transition with minimal environmental impact and cost, said the Royal Mint.

There are approximately 27 billion coins circulating in the UK stamped with the Queen’s image and these will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn, and to meet the demand for additional coins. The new coins stamped with the image of the King are likely to enter circulation in several months.

The King’s new cypher has been revealed, featuring the King’s initial C intertwined with the letter R for Rex – Latin for King – with III within the R denoting Charles III, with the crown above the letters. Over the coming years and months, the cypher will gradually appear on government buildings, state documents and on some post boxes. This will also be done gradually, to reduce the cost and environmental impact of the changes. 

King Charles's passion for promoting sustainability and the environment is well-known and ranged from him addressing the Cop26 Climate Change summit, to recycling the bathwater from his Clarence House home to water his garden.

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