King Charles banknotes: Paper money featuring image of monarch printed but not ready for circulation

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The new banknotes with the image of King Charles are being printed but won’t enter circulation until the middle of next year.

New banknotes with the image of King Charles are being manufactured in large quantities but will not enter circulation until the middle of next year, the BBC has reported. The only change to the existing designs of the £5, £10, £20, and £50 notes will be the King’s image, and new notes will replace damaged or worn older ones.

According to the Bank of England’s chief cashier, the process involves a relatively considerable build-up, which is why the notes will not be distributed until mid-2024, months after 50p pieces bearing the King’s image were introduced.

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Sarah John, whose role means her signature is on the banknotes, said: "There is a lot to do to ensure that machines used up and down the country can accept the banknotes. They all need to be adapted to recognise the new design, with software updates, and that takes months and months.”

She added: "Otherwise, we will be putting a banknote out there that people simply would not be able to use." The reverse side of current polymer Bank of England banknotes, which in ascending order feature Sir Winston Churchill, Jane Austen, JMW Turner and Alan Turing, will be unchanged.

The Queen Elizabeth notes already in circulation - some 4.7 billion of them, worth £82bn - can still be used in the shops, even after the new notes enter circulation. The King Charles notes will only replace them when they are no longer fit for use, or when there is any increased demand.

The Royal household has given guidance encouraging such a move, rather than a wholesale switch, in order to minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change.

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