When will King Charles bank notes come into circulation and what will happen to the old notes?

Find out whether notes carrying an image of Queen Elizabeth II will remain legal tender

A collage of King Charles and current £20 notes with Queen Elizabeth II on them
(Image credit: Getty Images / Future)

The new design has been unveiled, but when will King Charles bank notes come into circulation and what does it mean for the notes that feature Queen Elizabeth II?

Many who were asking what happens when the Queen dies back in September 2022 wanted to know the fate of our notes and coins that featured the late monarch, and now they've had their questions answered after the Royal Mint unveiled King Charles' coin effigy - though it led some to now wonder why King Charles faces the opposite way to the Queen.

And now, the Bank of England has revealed what the new monarch's bank notes will look like too. Alongside the announcement, the big question many are asking is when will King Charles bank notes come into circulation - and can you still use notes featuring the Queen?

When will King Charles bank notes come into circulation?

The Bank of England has said the new bank notes featuring the King's image expected are to enter circulation by mid-2024 - but no exact date for their release has been set.

However, the central bank has said that in line with guidance from the Royal Household, new notes will only be printed to replace worn banknotes and to meet any overall increase in demand for banknotes. This is in order to minimise the environmental and financial impact of the change.

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The Bank of England released the new design on Tuesday 20 December, saying the portrait of King Charles will all four polymer banknotes (£5, £10, £20 and £50), with no other changes to the existing designs.

The current series of banknotes features the following characters in the designs: 

  • £5: Winston Churchill 
  • £10:  Jane Austen 
  • £20: JMW Turner
  • £50: Alan Turing, who became the new face of the £50 note when it was release in June 2021.

Speaking about the announcement of the new design, Bank of England 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."

Although paper money has been produced by the Bank of England since the late 1600s, the monarch only appeared on the currency in 1960, when the £1 note showing Queen Elizabeth II was introduced.

The Queen's image also appears on some bank notes and/or coins in Australia, Canada and New Zealand, and it is likely that these will also be replaced with a new image of the current monarch.

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Can you still use money with the Queen on?

Yes, you can still use money with the Queen on - even after the new bank notes featuring King Charles come into circulation - as they will remain legal tender.

The two notes will co-circulate because of the Bank of England and Royal Household's decision to only print the new notes in order to replace worn notes or meet increased demand. 

This is the same case with new coins featuring King Charles III, which can also be used alongside coins with the effigy of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Anne Jessopp, chief executive officer of the Royal Mint, said: "The first coins bearing the effigy of His Majesty King Charles III will enter circulation in line with demand from banks and post offices. This means the coinage of King Charles III and Queen Elizabeth II will co-circulate in the UK for many years to come."

It's worth remembering however that some notes went out of circulation in September 2022, after the new polymer versions of the £20 and the £50 notes were released into circulation.

Meanwhile, King Charles won't feature on Australia's new five dollar bank notes.

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Ellie Hutchings
Family News Editor

Ellie is GoodtoKnow’s Family News Editor and covers all the latest trends in the parenting world - from relationship advice and baby names to wellbeing and self-care ideas for busy mums. Ellie is also an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has a distinction in MA Magazine Journalism from Nottingham Trent University and a first-class degree in Journalism from Cardiff University. Previously, Ellie has worked with BBC Good Food, The Big Issue, and the Nottingham Post, as well as freelancing as an arts and entertainment writer alongside her studies. When she’s not got her nose in a book, you’ll probably find Ellie jogging around her local park, indulging in an insta-worthy restaurant, or watching Netflix’s newest true crime documentary.