King Charles III to feature on stamps and banknotes

Richard Stuart-Turner
Tuesday, September 27, 2022

The current image of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II used on the Machin Definitive ‘everyday’ stamps will be updated to feature an image of His Majesty King Charles III, while banknotes will also be updated with his portrait.

Four new stamps are being issued in memory of Queen Elizabeth II
Four new stamps are being issued in memory of Queen Elizabeth II

Royal Mail said His Majesty will appear on new 1st and 2nd class Definitive stamps, as well as all those of other values. Special Stamps will also feature a silhouette of King Charles III.

Royal Mail said it will reveal the image and timings of the new Definitive stamps and the new silhouette in due course.

In line with guidance from the Royal Household, to minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change of monarch, existing stocks of Definitive stamps that feature Queen Elizabeth II and the Special Stamps which use her silhouette, will be distributed and issued as planned.

The launch dates of some of the Special Stamps may change, with details to be made available “at the appropriate time”.

New stamps featuring King Charles III will enter circulation once current stocks of stamps are exhausted.

Royal Mail has also advised that stamps bearing the image of Queen Elizabeth II remain valid for use.

As announced earlier this year by the postal operator, following the introduction of barcodes to the Definitive ‘everyday’ stamps, non-barcoded Definitive stamps will remain valid until the end of January 2023.

Royal Mail has also revealed images of four new stamps being issued in memory of Queen Elizabeth II.

All four stamp images were released in the Golden Jubilee stamp issue in 2002. As with all stamps released during Her Majesty’s reign, they were approved by her for issue in 2002. This is the first set of stamps approved by King Charles III.

The images feature Her Majesty through the years. The 2nd class stamp features a photograph taken by Dorothy Wilding in 1952, while the 1st class stamp shows a photograph by Cecil Beaton taken in 1968 which shows Queen Elizabeth II standing in her admiral’s cloak with her head tilted to the left.

The £1.85 stamp is a portrait taken in November 1984 by Yousuf Karsh while the £2.55 stamp uses a photograph taken in 1996 while she attended a banquet at Prague Castle during her visit to the Czech Republic. It was taken by Tim Graham.

Royal Mail CEO Simon Thompson said: “For the past seventy years every British stamp has been personally approved by Her Late Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.

“Today we are unveiling these stamps, the first to be approved by His Majesty The King, in tribute to a woman whose commitment to public service and duty was unparalleled in the history of this country.”

None of the stamps in the issue include the silhouette of Queen Elizabeth II normally required on Special Stamps. This is because her image is used in the design of the stamp, therefore removing the need for the silhouette to denote the country of origin.

The stamps are available to pre-order now on Royal Mail’s website and will go on general sale from 10 November 2022. A Presentation Pack of all four stamps will retail at £6.95.

In line with past practice following the death of a monarch, all existing post boxes will remain unchanged. Post boxes already in production or being prepared for installation will also retain the insignia of Queen Elizabeth II.

PA Media photographer Yui Mok was on hand to capture the new cypher being used on outgoing mail at Buckingham Palace

Once these have been installed, new postboxes will feature the new cypher of King Charles III, ‘CIIIR’, which has just been revealed and will also feature on banknotes according to the Bank of England, which said it will reveal images of updated banknotes featuring a portrait of King Charles III “by the end of this year”. The notes are expected to enter circulation by mid-2024.

His Majesty’s portrait will appear on existing designs of all four polymer banknotes (£5, £10, £20, and £50). This will be a continuation of the current polymer series and no additional changes to the banknote designs will be made, it said.

As with stamps, existing stocks of notes featuring Queen Elizabeth II will continue to be issued into circulation. New notes will only be printed to replace worn banknotes and to meet any overall increase in demand for banknotes.

Current banknotes featuring the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II will continue to be legal tender and will only be removed from circulation once they become worn or damaged. They will co-circulate with those featuring King Charles III.

Massive public interest in the Queen’s death and state funeral prompted an explosion in sales for many newspapers - made possible by a dash to increase print runs of the Friday 9 September edition after the Queen’s death was announced on the evening of 8 September.

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