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King Charles III Reacts to His Face Printed on The Bank of England’s Banknotes

King Charles III Reacts to Seeing His Face on British Money
Yui Mok – WPA Pool/Getty Images

King Charles III is officially the face of the Bank of England’s banknotes.

The monarch, 75, was presented with new £5, £10, £20 and £50 bills bearing his portrait on Tuesday, April 9. Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, and Sarah John, chief cashier and executive director of banking, presented the notes to Charles at Buckingham Palace.

“So this, of course, 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 banknotes,” Bailey explained to the king, per BBC.

“This is what is so surprising. You would think that it goes back,” Charles replied.

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He was shown the four lowest denominations, which featured a portrait based on a 2013 photo of himself. Unlike his late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, he does not wear a crown in the portrait.

“I wondered how it would come out, yes,” Charles remarked during the appearance.

“It’s a very good photograph of Jane Austen, Winston [Churchill],” he added, looking at the historic figures featured on the back of each denomination. “They’re very elegant, these ones, I must say.”

King Charles III Reacts to Seeing His Face on British Money
Yui Mok – WPA Pool/Getty Images

The monarch ascended the throne when Queen Elizabeth II died at age 96 in September 2022, and the debut of his banknotes marks one of the final traditional items that had yet to feature his insignia or image.

His face was previously added stamps in February 2023 and the first passports to use “His Majesty” wording since 1952 were issued the following July. The transition has been a slow one to emphasize using existing materials.

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The banknotes featuring the king will go into circulation on June 5, but plenty of bills featuring the queen will still be in circulation until they are too worn or damaged.

King Charles III Reacts to Seeing His Face on British Money
Yui Mok – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Tuesday’s meeting was one of a select few he has made since announcing his cancer diagnosis in February. While Charles undergoes cancer treatment, he has relied on other senior royals to step in for him. He even called on brother Prince Edward and wife Duchess Sophie to help out for the first time.

The Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh stepped in for the king at a ceremony marking the 120th anniversary of the Entente Cordiale, an agreement between Britain and France united against German ambitions in the decade before World War I. Edward and Sophie inspected the troops after French soldiers joined their British and Commonwealth counterparts at a Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace on Monday, April 8.

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