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King Charles III expected to replace Queen Elizabeth on bank notes, coins in lengthy two-year process

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King Charles III is expected to replace Queen Elizabeth II’s likeness on British currency following her death on Thursday.

The Bank of England will likely recall and replace pound notes and coins with the queen’s profile in the coming months.

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The process of phasing out old coins and banknotes and replacing the queen’s image with a portrait of Charles is expected to take around two years. 

While no official plans have been announced yet, the Bank of England assured Britons that currency with the queen’s image will remain legal tender. 

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Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in full court dress.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles in full court dress.
(Paul Edwards – WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“Current banknotes featuring the image of Her Majesty The Queen will continue to be legal tender,” the Bank of England said in a statement following her death on Thursday. 

“A further announcement regarding existing Bank of England banknotes will be made once the period of mourning has been observed,” the bank added.

There are an estimated 4.5 billion banknotes in circulation with the queen’s likeness on them. 

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Queen Elizabeth's likeness on Bank of England notes and coins.

Queen Elizabeth’s likeness on Bank of England notes and coins.
(Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)

In Australia, coins with Charles’ likeness are expected to face left, according to the Canberra Times. Current coins that feature the queen’s profile face right. The tradition of flipping the directions of the profiles is believed to have started with Charles II in 1660. 

The only exception to the tradition is Edward VIII, who reportedly insisted that his profile should face left. Edward later abdicated the British throne to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson. 

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Edward’s abdication cleared the way for Elizabeth’s father, George VI, to ascend and eventually hand the title to her upon his death.

British currency in the form of two one pound coins rest atop a Bank of England ten pound note featuring an image of Queen Elizabeth II.

British currency in the form of two one pound coins rest atop a Bank of England ten pound note featuring an image of Queen Elizabeth II.
(Daniel Harvey Gonzalez/In Pictures via Getty Images)

Canadian coins will be updated with Charles’ likeness depending on actions by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government. Elizabeth’s portrait is featured on the back of Canadian coins and on the Canadian $20 bill. 

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While his government has not announced next steps, Trudeau mourned Elizabeth’s passing on Thursday.

“She was one of my favorite people in the world,” the Canadian prime minister said while wearing a dark suit at a press conference. “I will miss her so.”

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