From coins to stamps and passports, Britain will rebrand for the King

The death of Queen Elizabeth II also marks the start of a rebranding exercise to gradually introduce King Charles III’s portrait and Royal Arms in everyday life

The Queen's portrait on banknotes, coins and stamps will be replaced with that of King Charles III
The Queen's portrait on banknotes, coins and stamps will be replaced with that of King Charles III

Queen Elizabeth’s portrait on British coins and banknotes is the only one most people have ever seen. The same can be said of the Queen’s silhouette embossed on all stamps issued by the Royal Mail.

And that cereal box on your breakfast table or chocolate imported from the UK is likely to have the royal warrant on it depicting the Queen’s coat of arms.

For 70 years, the Queen’s portrait and her royal seal have been an intrinsic part of British life but all this will change with the ascent of a new monarch. A gradual change of royal rebranding will kick off as the UK embraces its new king.

Coins and banknotes

All 29 billion coins in circulation in the UK have the Queen's head on them. The most recent design dates from 2015, when she was 88 years old. It was the fifth coin portrait created during her reign.

The Royal Mint has not said how or when it will start issuing coins with King Charles III's head on them, but it's likely that the Queen's coins will remain in circulation for many years, and that the process to replace them will be a gradual one.

A coin issued in 2018 by the Royal Mint to commemorate Charles’s 70th birthday could give a hint as to how the king’s portrait will look.

King Charles III will be shown facing the other way - to the left. Tradition dictates that the direction in which the monarch faces on coins must alternate for each new monarch.

The Queen has appeared on all Bank of England notes since 1960 (notes issued by Scottish and Northern Irish banks do not depict the monarch). There are about 4.5 billion individual Bank of England notes worth about £80bn in circulation at the moment. and, as with coins, these will be gradually phased out.

And if you have a handful of banknotes from your travels to the UK do not fret because all notes and coins will remain legal tender and the Bank of England will give lots of notice if that is to change.


Since 1967, all stamps issued by the Royal Mail have featured an embossed silhouette of the side profile of Queen Elizabeth II.

Royal Mail will now stop producing Queen Elizabeth II stamps - although they can still be used on letters and parcels - and will begin the process to create new ones.

The new King has featured on stamps before, but Royal Mail has not yet said what the new designs with him will look like.

Royal arms

The Royal Arms appearing alongside the words, "By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen" are a feature on many British grocery products. These are products which have been granted a Royal Warrant, meaning that the company who makes them supplies the Royal Households on a regular basis.

For the last century or so the monarch, their consort and heir have each issued their own Royal Warrants - making them grantors - and there are currently about 900 Royal Warrants held by 800 companies.

When a grantor dies, any Royal Warrants they issued become void and the company has two years to stop using the Royal Arms. The warrants Charles has issued as Prince of Wales will continue now that he is King because they go with the household, not the title.

There is an expectation that the new King will now grant his son and heir, Prince William, the ability to issue his own warrants.

Passports and police

All British passports are issued in the name of Her Majesty and are still valid for travel, but for new passports, the wording on the inside of the front cover will be updated to His Majesty.

Police forces in England and Wales will also have to change the royal cypher of Queen Elizabeth II in the centre of their helmet plates.

Finally, barristers and solicitors who have been appointed by the monarch to be Queen's Counsel will now be known as King's Counsel with immediate effect.