You may have heard that the Queen passed away earlier this month, meaning Charles is now King. It also means we're gonna be getting new coins, and the official 50p effigy was unveiled by the Royal Mint today (30 September).
However, a lot of people are wondering why Charles is crownless on the coin design.
Can anyone tell me why Charles III doesn't have a crown on his head in these first coins? The Queen had one on her head on hers.— Tom Harwood (@tomhfh) September 30, 2022
Will it change after the coronation? pic.twitter.com/PVu6gZdMGw
🔴 The United Kingdom showed the public the new coin depicting King Charles III…— @PalasAtenea(2)🍊 (@AthenaMia2nd) September 30, 2022
his face looks to the left (Queen Elizabeth looked to the right) and he is without a crown…🤔👀 pic.twitter.com/nvCWuKdKKS
Why no crown on the first King Charles III coins?— Nathan Jones - author, beta-reader (@NathanJonesBook) September 30, 2022
He also looks super old. As old, if not older than his mother did in her last release of new coins.
Well, it turns out it was no mistake - obviously. As tends to be the way with the royal family, it's all about tradition.
Female monarchs are depicted with crowns on coins, kings aren't.
You may also notice that Charles is facing the opposite direction to his mum. Each monarch is depicted from a different angle; the next one will be portrayed face on, and with the one after that, you'll just be able to see the back of their head...
Ok, that was a joke, but I think the Royal Mint should consider it.
No, the reason that Charles is facing to the left is because it is tradition for the monarch to face the opposite direction of their predecessor.
Chris Barker, from the Royal Mint Museum, explained: "Charles has followed that general tradition that we have in British coinage, going all the way back to Charles II actually, that the monarch faces in the opposite direction to their predecessor."
People will start to see the King's image in their change from around December, as 50p coins depicting Charles will gradually enter circulation to meet demand.
In the meantime, the Mint will release a memorial coin range on Monday (3 October) at 9am to commemorate the life and legacy of Queen Elizabeth II.
The King's portrait will first appear on a special £5 Crown and 50p, commemorating the Queen.
Nicola Howell, chief commercial officer at the Royal Mint, told the PA News agency: "We expect customers will start to be able to receive the commemorative range from October and then we expect the 50p memorial circulating coin to be appearing in people’s change probably from December."
The King's effigy has been created by sculptor Martin Jennings, and has been personally approved by Charles, the Mint said.
The Latin inscription surrounding the effigy reads - '• CHARLES III • D • G • REX • F • D • 5 POUNDS • 2022', which translates to - 'King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith'.
All UK coins bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II will remain legal tender and in active circulation.
Historically, it has been commonplace for coins featuring the effigies of different monarchs to co-circulate, helping to minimise the environmental impact and cost.
There are around 27 billion coins currently circulating in the UK bearing the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II.
These will be replaced over time as they become damaged or worn and to meet demand for additional coins.
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.
"Over the coming years it will become common for people to find coins bearing His Majesty and Queen Elizabeth II's effigy in their change, engaging new generations in the story of Britain's Royal Family."
Featured Image Credit: PA/Alamy