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British RoyalsKing Charles III

Which way will King Charles face on his coins and stamps?

King Charles, while still Prince of Wales, at the State Opening of Parliament. His Majesty read The Queen's Speech on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II in May 2022, five months before his accession.

With the extended period of royal mourning now concluded, members of the Royal Family are back to business, as usual. And with a new reign comes a new official portrait of the sovereign. 

If one looks back at the last three and a half centuries, you will notice that the direction that the monarch’s face is pointed alternates between monarchs. Starting with King Charles II, each new monarch switches profiles from their predecessor. 

The only exception to this tradition was King Edward VIII who chose to face the left like his father, King George V. However, these coins were never actually released into circulation due to his almost immediate abdication and only exist as pattern pieces. 

Queen Elizabeth II faced right on all coinage bearing her image. Throughout her reign,  nations would update the portrait being used, but  it would continue to face the right. 

King Charles III, like his grandfather, King George VI, will face the left on coinage bearing his likeness. While coins bearing the image of the late Queen Elizabeth will remain legal tender for years to come, the Royal Mint will start producing currency with the new King’s image on it by the end of 2022. 

Royal Mail will also soon begin issuing stamps with the King’s likeness. They are available for pre-order now, and will be available for general sale on 10 November 2022.  

Aside from specialty and commemorative stamps from the reign of Queen Victoria, the British sovereign faces left on their stamps. King Charles is also expected to face to the left. 

When Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in February 1952, photographer Dorothy Wilding shot the portrait that would be used for stamps within a few weeks. We can expect that Charles will also be sitting for a portrait in the near future. 

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