Why King Charles III will face in the opposite direction on coins


James Morris

·Freelance news writer, Yahoo UK

Sun, 11 September 2022 at 1:28 pm

New coins featuring King Charles will see him facing in the opposite direction to the Queen. (PA/Getty Images)
New coins featuring King Charles will see him facing in the opposite direction to the Queen. (PA/Getty Images)

There will be many major changes to the Royal Family following the death of the Queen and accession of King Charles III to the throne.

But it will also prompt little differences in the everyday lives of millions of Britons – including the money we use.

One of these changes will eventually see Charles feature on banknotes and coins. What is more, his image is likely to be facing in the opposite direction on coins.

Where the Queen’s image faces to the right on each one of the 29 billion coins in circulation, coins featuring the new King are likely to show him facing to the left.

This is due to a tradition, dating back to the 17th century, to alternate the way successive monarchs are facing.

As the Royal Family says on its website: “From the time of Charles II onwards, a tradition developed of monarchs being represented on the coinage facing in the opposite direction to their immediate predecessor.

“The exception to this was in the brief reign of Edward VIII. He liked portraits of himself facing to the left, even though, according to tradition, he should have faced to the right. Designs for proposed coins for his reign show Edward VIII facing to the left.

“The tradition was restored in the reign of George VI, with his portrait facing left as if Edward VIII’s had faced right.”

UNITED KINGDOM - 2020/06/06: In this photo illustration The Bank of England twenty pounds (£20) note with the image of Queen Elizabeth II and The British one pound (£1) coin are seen displayed. (Photo Illustration by Karol Serewis/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)
New coins and notes featuring the King’s image will be designed. (Getty Images)

New coins and notes featuring the King will need to be designed and minted or printed, but are not likely to appear in general circulation for some time.

The Royal Mint advisory committee needs to send recommendations for new coins to the chancellor and obtain royal approval. Designs are then chosen and the final choices approved by the chancellor and then the King.

The Queen’s coins did not appear until 1953, the year after her accession. Her coins are expected to stay in use until they are gradually replaced.

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