The Bank of England has released the first images of the new banknotes to feature a portrait of the King.
His Majesty’s portrait will appear across all banknotes (£5, £10, £20 and £50) which are expected to enter circulation by mid-2024.
Governor Andrew Bailey said: “I am very proud that the Bank is releasing the design of our new banknotes which will carry a portrait of King Charles III.
“This is a significant moment, as The King is only the second monarch to feature on our banknotes. People will be able to use these new notes as they start to enter circulation in 2024.”
Meanwhile, a joke designed to whip up interest in a new commemorative coin featuring the King left most of the Royal Mint’s social media followers scratching their heads on Monday.
“You’ve heard of Elf on the Shelf. Now get ready for…” it teased alongside an image of the new coin.
“A posh on some dosh?” asked one. “King on the bling?” asked another. “Hereditary ruler on the moolah?” wrote another.
In the end, the Royal Mint was forced to step in, revealing that the correct answer was “sovereign on a sovereign”.
The original tweet generated more than 400 comments, many of them unprintable. Comments were eventually restricted.
“Well, that escalated…” acknowledged the Royal Mint. “It’s not an easy word to rhyme! Shall we do another?” The overwhelming answer was no.
“I’m not sure you have fully grasped the rhyming concept of Elf on the Shelf,” sighed one Twitter user. Another urged the organisation to “show some respect [for] a millennium of tradition and standards”.
Hannah Rose Woods, a historian and writer, wrote: “Instinctively, this isn’t how I want the Royal Mint to talk to me.
“I don’t know how to get ‘ready’ for the concept of a monarch’s face on coins. We’re already using the same word for both things. The meme only works on the basis of this having been established. It isn’t possible to understand the meme and then become more ready for its premise.”
Elf on the Shelf is a Christmas craze that started in the US. Parents buy an elf who appears in their house at the beginning of December to watch over the children on behalf of Father Christmas.
Each night when they are asleep, the elf returns to the North Pole to report back on their behaviour before reappearing in a different location the next morning.
The sovereign has become the Royal Mint’s flagship coin and its new memorial edition marks the first time it has featured the King’s official coinage portrait.
The Royal Mint tried to reclaim the narrative by explaining in a later tweet that the coin has been associated with the British monarchy since 1489.
“Henry VII demanded a ‘new money of gold’ to demonstrate the wealth and power of the new Tudor dynasty following the Battle of Bosworth,” it said.
The limited edition memorial sovereign 2022, featuring the King, is on sale for between £230 for a quarter sovereign to £2,900 for a five sovereign piece. A limited edition five-coin set costing £5,595 has already sold out.
The first coins to feature a portrait of the King entered circulation on Dec 8. His Majesty’s effigy appears on a 50p, with the reverse, or “tails” side commemorating the life and legacy of the late Queen Elizabeth II.
Story by Victoria Ward,