King Charles inspires historic change – and this has only happened four times before

King Charles has approved eight new coins from the Royal Mint, with a major redesign

King Charles' passion for the environment is part of the reason for this historic change
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A new collection of coins bearing the face of King Charles has been unveiled by the Royal Mint. The major news comes with Charles’ decision to break with tradition, choosing designs inspired by plants and animals found across the four nations instead of the traditional heraldry.

King Charles celebrated his first full year as sovereign in September of this year, and now, another milestone has been confirmed.

The Royal Mint - the United Kingdom's official maker of British coins and the oldest company in the United Kingdom - unveiled eight new coins to officially cement the Carolean Era, in the first major redesign of the British coins since 2008.  

King Charles inspires historic change

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The coins are notable for two reasons. The first is because it’s one of only four major redesigns of British coins in 70 years – and this is largely because of the late Queen Elizabeth’s history making reign which saw her become the first British monarch to reach a Platinum Jubilee.

The Royal Mint unveiled eight new coins

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Our King: Charles III: The Man and the Monarch Revealed by Robert Jobson | £9.23 at Amazon

Our King: Charles III: The Man and the Monarch Revealed by Robert Jobson | £9.23 at Amazon

Released ahead of His Majesty's coronation, royal author Robert Jobson reflects upon King Charles as both a man and as Britain's monarch. He considers his motivations, driving passions and how his values will go on to influence his approach to his reign.

The second interesting fact about the coins is that they will break from centuries of tradition by swapping out the tradition heraldry of the monarch for something more modern and connected to the long-held passions of the King.

The eight designs, overseen by the King himself, will depict the flora and fauna found in different parts of the United Kingdom, reflecting his interest in conservation and nature.

One of the new Royal Mint coins, inspired by King Charles' passion for nature

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The new one pence depicts a hazel dormouse, the two pence will feature the red squirrel, the five pence coin will show an oak tree leaf, the ten pence coin features the critically endangered woodland grouse the capercaillie, the twenty pence coin will depict a puffin and the fifty pence bears a salmon.

The £1 will feature two bees and the £2 coin features a rose for England, a daffodil for Wales, a thistle for Scotland and a shamrock for Northern Ireland.

The eight Royal Mint definitives to be released by the end of 2023

(Image credit: Getty Images)

These coin designs will eventually replace the current shield, which features an emblem of the home nations - a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek, and was introduced under Queen Elizabeth II in 2008.

The coins will be in circulation by the end of the year.

What’s important to note is these will not be the only coins in circulation – the previous coins revealed after the death of the late Queen will remain in use too.

King Charles' first coin was unveiled shortly after Queen Elizabeth II's death in 2022

(Image credit: Getty Images)

In October 2022, after the first month of Charles’ reign, the first new coins of his reign were struck featuring the King's portrait, designed by artist Martin Jennings and based on a picture taken of the King on his 70th birthday.

At the time, Kevin Clancy, director of the Royal Mint Museum, said, “For many people this will be the first time in their lives that they have seen a new monarch appear on money.”

Now, these newly unveiled flora and fauna coins - officially known as definitives - will mark the final chapter of King Charles III’s transition onto British coinage.

Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.