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King Charles Presented with New Banknotes Featuring His Image


King Charles expressed surprise and gratitude on Tuesday as he became only the second reigning monarch to feature on British banknotes.

He was presented with the new £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes bearing his image during an audience at Buckingham Palace. The notes are set to enter circulation gradually starting from June 5.

Accompanied by Andrew Bailey, the governor of the Bank of England, and Sarah John, the Bank’s chief cashier, whose signature appears on the notes, King Charles acknowledged the significance of the moment. Bailey remarked, “This is quite a big moment because we’ve never changed the sovereign on the bank notes because the Queen was the first sovereign to be on the bank notes.” To which Charles replied, expressing his surprise at the historical milestone.

Although banknotes have been in circulation since the late 17th century, it was Queen Elizabeth who became the first reigning monarch to be depicted on a note, appearing on the £1 note in 1960. This was followed by subsequent denominations featuring her portrait.

The 2024 polymer banknotes bearing King Charles’s portrait were prepared in anticipation of the change of reign following his mother’s death. They will co-circulate with existing notes and make up around 2 percent of the total Bank of England notes in circulation.

In alignment with the King’s request, the new notes will only be printed to replace worn-out currency or to meet increased demand, thereby minimizing the change’s environmental and financial impact.

During the presentation, King Charles commended the intricate security measures implemented in the notes, noting their well-designed features. The reverse sides of the notes will maintain their current iconic figures, including Sir Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, JMW Turner, and Alan Turing.

The engagement coincided with the third anniversary of Prince Philip’s death and marked the 19th wedding anniversary of King Charles and Camilla. Despite undergoing treatment for undisclosed cancer, the King expressed his gratitude for the presentation, apologizing for any delay.

The introduction of banknotes featuring King Charles’s image represents a significant moment in British currency history, commemorating his reign and adding to the nation’s monetary heritage.

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