Nearly 70 years ago, the Queen’s portrait appeared on UK coins, with various profile pictures of hers as she got older. It has appeared on the country’s banknotes for more than 60 years, and was the first British monarch to do so. Her image also appears on the currency of many countries that were formerly under British rule.
Since 1953, one year after the Queen took the throne, UK coins have held five different versions of her portrait. It appeared on the country’s banknotes starting in 1960.
There are more than 4.7 million banknotes in circulation in the UK, with a total value of 82 billion pounds ($95 billion), according to the central bank. The Royal Mint said there were also about 29 billion coins in circulation.
It is likely that new money will be introduced gradually, and will coexist as legal tender with old notes and coins for a period of time.
A similar phase occurred in 2017, when the Royal Mint began issuing a new 12-sided £1 coin. The new coin circulated at the same time as the old £1 round coin for six months before the latter lost its legal tender status.
But it’s not just criticism that will require change. The UK is facing a massive process of changing the royal insignia on thousands of mailboxes and newly issued passports.
No changes yet
The Royal Mint said in a statement on its website that coins bearing the image of the Queen “remain legal tender and in circulation”, and that production will continue as usual during the “respectable mourning period.”
The Bank of England said the iconic ‘Queen portraits’ [were] synonymous with “some of her most important works.
“Existing banknotes featuring Her Majesty’s portrait will continue to be legal tender,” it said in a statement on Thursday. (At one point on Friday, a lot of people were trying to get to the Royal Mint website as there was a virtual queue to get in.)
The central bank said it will draw up its plans to replace the existing banknotes once the mourning period is over. The Royal Mint also said it would make an announcement in due course.
The Queen’s portrait also appears on some banknotes and coins throughout the Commonwealth – an association of 54 countries, nearly all of which were once colonized by the United Kingdom.
In Canada, where the Queen is still head of state, her portrait appears on plastic $20 banknotes.
“The current $20 polymer banknote is in circulation for years to come. There are no legislative requirements to change the design during a specific period when the king changes,” said Emily Veron-Craig, a spokeswoman for the Bank of Canada. Statement to CNN Business.
Veron Craig added that Canada’s finance minister is responsible for approving the design of the new banknotes, and it usually takes a few years to issue these notes.
Also in Australia, the Queen’s portrait appears on a $5 note. The Reserve Bank of Australia said on Friday that there would be no “immediate change” in its notes.
She added that her $5 bills “will not be withdrawn” and are likely to remain in circulation for years.
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