First King Charles III Coin Revealed – And It Features A Second Royal

You'll still be able to use coins with the Queen's face on for years to come, apparently.
The first coins to feature King Charles III's effigy.
The first coins to feature King Charles III's effigy.

The official coin effigy of King Charles III has been revealed, and will start to appear on circulating coins produced by The Royal Mint in the coming months.

The first coins to feature the new King’s portrait will be special edition £5 and 50p coins, commemorating the life and legacy of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

In fact, both the current and late monarch’s faces will actually feature on the £5 coin, while the 50p coin has a visual reference to the late Queen’s coronation.

British sculptor Martin Jennings is the artist behind the King’s new portrait, which faces the left – the opposite direction to the Queen on existing coinage.

This is due to a tradition that dates back to the 17th century that alternates the way successive monarchs face.

As the Royal Family website explains: “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 only exception to this rule was the brief reign of Edward VIII, the site explains, who “liked portraits of himself facing to the left, even though, according to tradition, he should have faced to the right.”

The Latin inscription surrounding King Charles III’s new effigy – “• CHARLES III • D • G • REX • F” translates to “King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith”.

The reverse of the soon-to-be circulated commemorative £5 coin features two new portraits of the late Queen Elizabeth II in a design created by artist John Bergdahl in collaboration with The Royal Mint.

This is part of a broader memorial coin collection, including the 50p coin, which will released into general circulation in the UK.

The Queen Elizabeth II memorial coins, showing the reverse designs
The Queen Elizabeth II memorial coins, showing the reverse designs

The reverse of the 50p coin includes a design that originally appeared on the 1953 Coronation Crown. It was created to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation at Westminster Abbey, and includes the four quarters of the Royal Arms depicted within a shield.

In between each shield is an emblem of the home nations; a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek.

Dr Kevin Clancy, director of The Royal Mint Museum, said: “Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has graced more coins than any other British monarch in a reign that lasted for 70 years.

“As we move from the Elizabethan to the Carolean era it represents the biggest change to Britain’s coinage in decades and the first time that many people will have seen a different effigy.”

The new coins are among a range of everyday items that are due a makeover to reflect the changing of the monarch, including bank notes and stamps.

You will still be able to use coins featuring the late Queen for years to come, as The Royal Mint are keeping them in active circulation, it said, to ensure a smooth transition, minimal environmental impact, and to save costs.

The approximately 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK featuring the Queen’s face will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for additional coins.

The coins featuring the portrait of King Charles will start circulating from December.