First ever crowned portrait of King Charles III to appear on coins

why isn't king charles iii wearing a crown on the new coins
First crowned portrait of Charles appears on coinsWPA Pool - Getty Images

For the first time ever, a crowned portrait of King Charles III will appear on a range of commemorative coins.

The collection – which has been made to celebrate the upcoming coronation – includes a 50p and £5 coin, and will be released later this month.

"Featuring the first official crowned coinage portrait of The King, we are delighted to share that The Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III UK Coin Collection will be available from 9am on 24 April," a post on the Royal Mint's official Instagram account read.

The effigy featured on the commemorative coins was designed by artist and sculptor Martin Jennings, and depicts the monarch wearing the Tudor Crown.

Although the crown itself no longer exists in real life – having been destroyed in the 1600s – it was selected by the King to appear on the coin, following the tradition of other kings who used it in portraits.

Notably, however, Charles isn't wearing a crown in the other coins released since His Majesty took over the throne from Queen Elizabeth II. So, what's the reason?

Why isn't King Charles III wearing a crown on the new coins?

After Her Majesty's passing last year, the Royal Mint unveiled the first coins featuring the portrait of Britain's new sovereign, and Charles is understood to have been pleased with the likeness.

Following centuries-old tradition, the new coins show the monarch facing left – the opposite way to his predecessor. But that wasn't the only difference that fans noticed between the new coins and the coins featuring Her Majesty that we're all so familiar with.

"Can anyone explain why Charles isn’t wearing a crown, whereas Queen always wore her's on coins?" one royal fan tweeted, as someone else asked: "Can anyone explain why Charles won’t be wearing a crown on coins/notes but the Queen always did?

As with previous British kings, and unlike the Queen, Charles wears no crown on the circulated coins that feature his portrait. That's because it is tradition that only female monarchs wear a crown on their coins, and if you look back through the coins over the last several hundred years you'll see just that.

Queen Elizabeth II wore a crown on her coins, but her father King George VI didn't. Similarly, coins featuring Queen Victoria showed her wearing a crown whilst her predecessor, King William IV, wore no crown on his coins.

why isn't king charles iii wearing a crown on the new coins
Jeff Gilbert - Shutterstock

What is inscribed on the new King Charles III coins?

The inscription surrounding the effigy on the coins released last year reads "CHARLES III • D • G • REX • F • D • 5 POUNDS • 2022", shortened from Latin, which translates to "King Charles III, by the Grace of God, Defender of the Faith".

What's on the other side of the new King Charles III coins?

The reverse of the commemorative £5 coin released last year shows two new portraits of the Queen, charting her journey from a young monarch to a long-standing head of state as well as the dates of her birth and death. On the 50p coin, the reverse is a copy of the design used on the 1953 coin created to commemorate the Queen's coronation.

Are King Charles III's coins in circulation?

Coins featuring King Charles officially went into circulation in December 2022, and are currently co-circulating with coins featuring the late Queen, which will continue to circulate for many years to come.

That's because coins generally last for 20 years, according to Anne Jessopp, chief executive of The Royal Mint. "People should not worry if they have coins with the Queen on. We will keep those coins in circulation," Jessopp said.

Head here for everything you need to know about King Charles III's coronation.

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