Bank of England unveils new British banknotes with portrait of King Charles III
Dec. 20 (UPI) -- New British banknotes featuring a portrait of King Charles III were unveiled on Monday as the Bank of England offers a sneak peek at the fresh currency before it enters circulation in 2024.
The new polymer notes feature the king's likeness on the front as the main image and inside a small, transparent security pane that vets the authenticity of the bills.
The notes also feature the king's cypher with the letters C and R ligatured with the Roman numeral three.
The king's portrait will grace the £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes that have featured Queen Elizabeth II for more than half a century.
The old banknotes will remain in circulation alongside the new bills, with the king's notes replacing only those that have become tattered and worn over time, the Bank of England said in a statement.
"Our approach is in line with guidance from the Royal Household, to minimize the environmental and financial impact of this change," the bank said.
In 1960, the queen became the first and only British monarch to appear on currency printed by the Bank of England. National banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland do not issue notes that depict the monarch.
Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey called the new design a "proud" and "significant moment" for the nation following the queen's death in September.
At the time, Britain's Royal Mint promptly issued new 50p and 5£ coins that feature a sculpted image of King Charles III. About 4.9 million of those coins have been minted and are being distributed to post offices around the country to be given to customers who need change. Another 4.9 million of the coins will eventually enter circulation but won't replace coins featuring the Queen.
In keeping with British tradition for coins featuring male monarchs, Charles is not wearing a crown and faces left. The prior coins featured an image of his mother facing right and wearing a crown. With each successive monarch, the direction of the silhouette is changed.