How will life look differently following the death of the Queen

Coins, stamps and postboxes will now change as King Charles III starts his reign. Credit: PA

Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II life in the UK and beyond will begin to look significantly different. 

Images of and references to the Queen have adorned currency, stamps, and informed our way of life for more than 70 years.

It's also to her that MPs, members of the armed forces, judges, and others swear allegiance.

Here’s how that will begin to change:


Many senior MPs will swear an oath of allegiance to the new King in a rare Saturday afternoon sitting of the House of Commons.

The wording of the oath will change, to read "I (name of Member) swear by almighty God that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to His Majesty King Charles, his heirs and successors, according to law. So help me God.”

Updated wording will also be used by new members of the armed forces, clergy in the Church of England, and others.


The Queen's portrait is featured on all of our coins and notes and, according to the Guinness World Records, her image appears on at least 33 different currencies around the world - more than any living monarch. 

Since her accession to the throne in 1952 five portraits of the Queen have been used on British currency. 

After her death, the Royal Mint will begin the process of changing our currency to feature the new monarch.

The Royal Mint will soon begin to print new currency with the head of the new monarch. Credit: PA

When the Queen came to the throne the process began with the commissioning of her first royal portrait - which was then used in a competition where sculptors created designs for the royal effigy.

The same may be the case for when the time comes to sculpt the new king.

According to the Royal Mint, monarchs have always traditionally appeared in profile on coins - facing the opposite way from their predecessor.

As Queen Elizabeth II’s father George VI had faced to the left, so she has always faced right on our coins - and it is likely Charles will face left. 

Currency with Queen Elizabeth II's portrait on will slowly be phased out as new versions are printed - with a date set for when the old currency can eventually no longer be used. 

In other countries around the world, the same process will take place but likely at a slower rate. Some countries may even choose to keep currency featuring the Queen to honour her legacy. 

Only since 1960 has the British Sovereign been featured on English bank notes, meaning the Queen was the first and only monarch to do so up until this point. 


Following the abdication of King Edward VIII, the Post Office had just five months to prepare and issue stamps for George VI.

According to the Postal Museum, work got underway immediately to produce new definitives (regular issue stamps) for the new king - as well as an issue to celebrate his Coronation.

After her father's death, several photos of Elizabeth II were submitted by Royal photographer Dorothy Wilding for possible use on the new definitive stamps.

A plaster model of the king's head (left) was used by Edmund Dulac and Eric Gill to create new stamps for the country (right). Credit: The Postal Museum

The final design chosen was then used on our stamps until 1967 and has been updated, as with our coins, since then.

It's thought to be the most reproduced work of art in history, with more than 200 billion examples produced so far.

The same process will follow for the new monarch and, as with currency, from a certain date the Royal Mail will no longer produce and circulate stamps with the Queen featured.

Definitives of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II. Credit: The Postal Museum

They will instead be replaced with a new design featuring the King.

New stamps are shown to the Stamp Advisory Committee before a proof of the new design is printed, showing what the finished stamp will look like at actual size.

When the final proof has been approved by Royal Mail and the Stamp Advisory Committee, it is shown to the monarch for approval before printing.  

God Save the Queen

The anthem was a patriotic song first publicly performed in London in 1745, as God Save the King', which came to be known as the national anthem at the beginning of the nineteenth century. 

The words sung since the Queen's accession are the same as those sung in 1745, substituting "Queen" for "King" where appropriate.

Following the death of her father, King George VI in 1952, the national anthem was adapted to reflect the new monarch.

As Charles takes the throne, the words will be returned once again to God Save the King. 


British passports are issued in the name of the Queen with the wording: "Her Britannic Majesty's Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of Her Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary." 

British passports. Credit: PA

As with currency and stamps, rather than a mass recall which would be both a huge operation and expensive, passports with this wording will be phased out as they expire.

New wording, reflecting the new king, will then take their place, much in the same way we've seen the old burgundy passports replaced with blue ones after Brexit.

The reigning monarch doesn't need a British passport when travelling overseas, given that the document is issued in their name, and so (like his mother) Charles won't need one. 


Any new postboxes could feature the new King’s cypher.

At the start of the Queen’s reign in 1952, there were objections in Scotland to her being styled Elizabeth II because the Tudor Queen Elizabeth I was never a queen of Scotland.

A Post Office pillar box in Edinburgh bearing the ERII cypher was defaced and later blown up.

Its replacement was left blank.

Coat of arms

The royal coat of arms, adopted at the start of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1837, will remain the same.

But just as when the Queen became monarch, it is likely that new artwork will be issued early in Charles’s reign by the College of Arms for use by public service bodies such as the civil service and the armed forces.

The “very light rebranding” will be hard to spot, but it signifies the opportunity to replace old images, which have been in use for many decades, with newer differently stylised ones.

The Duke of Cambridge will be given an updated coat of arms when he is made the Prince of Wales – a title which he does not inherit automatically.


Charles will need a new personal flag as King.

In 1960, the Queen adopted a personal flag – a gold E with the royal crown surrounded by a chaplet of roses on a blue background – to be flown on any building, ship, car or aircraft in which she was staying or travelling.

It was often used when she visited Commonwealth countries.

While the Royal Standard represents the Sovereign and the United Kingdom, the Queen’s own flag was personal to her alone and could be flown by no-one other than the Queen.

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