The Royal Mint of Great Britain has unveiled the first coins to bear the likeness of the new British monarch King Charles III. They bear the expected portrait reversal, where the new monarch is made to face in the opposite direction to his predecessor. But they are crucially missing the Latinized version of the king’s name, Carolus. It has been dropped in favor of the vernacular Charles, in a bid to not confuse modern users unacquainted with Latin. In doing so, a tradition of more than 1000 years has been broken.
The introduction of the new coins doesn’t mean, however, that the still circulating coins featuring the late Queen will disappear right away. According to Anne Jessopp, chief executive of The Royal Mint, coins are generally in circulation for up to 20 years, meaning that both designs will co-exist for the foreseeable future.
“People should not worry if they have coins with the Queen on. We will keep those coins in circulation,” said Jessopp, adding that “we are seeing people moving to different forms of payment, but people really like to use coins as well for lots of different reasons.”
Just like the loss of the Latin title, the portrait of King Charles III was designed to be accessible to people. Charles himself approved of the portrait. Jennings, who created the likeness of the king based on a photograph, said “it is the smallest work I have created,” but added that “it is humbling to know it will be seen and held by people around the world for centuries to come.”
The introduction of further coins bearing the likeness of the new king, ranging from 1p to £2, will commence at the beginning of 2023. These will gradually replace damaged older coins.