Why today is a hugely momentous day in King Charles' reign

Today marks a huge moment for the new King

King Charles
(Image credit: Getty)

Today marks a special day for King Charles III, as the first coins featuring his portrait hit the UK today.

The first coins bearing King Charles III’s official effigy will appear today in a monumental moment in King Charles' reign. The King’s portrait, created by sculptor Martin Jennings and approved personally by Charles, will first appear on a 50p coin.

The first official coins bearing the effigy will now begin to appear in circulation in post offices across the UK today. And the announcement resulted in a record number of visitors to the Royal Mint’s official website.

A total of 4.9 million 50p coins are to be sent to 9,452 Post Office branches throughout the whole of December. Director of Collector Services Rebecca Morgan said of the occasion, “Today marks a new era for UK coinage, with the effigy of King Charles III appearing on 50ps in circulation.

King Charles

(Image credit: Getty)

"It's a fantastic opportunity for coin collectors to add to their collections, or start one for the first time. We anticipate a new generation of coin collectors emerging, with people keeping a close eye on their change to try and spot a new 50p that bears the portrait of our new King."

"The Royal Mint has been trusted to make coins bearing the monarch's effigy for over 1,100 years and we are proud to continue this tradition into the reign of King Charles III."

Post Office Chief Executive Nick Read added, “It is a tremendous honour for the Post Office and for postmasters that the first coinage featuring King Charles III is being released into circulation via our extensive branch network."

"December is our busiest time of the year so the coin will be entering our network in a phased manner. If you don't receive the new 50p in your change on your first visit to a post office you may well get it in your change in a subsequent visit, so keep a look out for it."

King Charles

(Image credit: Getty)

And in a touching tribute to Queen Elizabeth II, the coin - of which a commemorative version was released earlier this year - features a design that had been originally imprinted on coins to mark the Queen's coronation at Westminster Abbey in 1953. 

It shows four quarters of the Royal Arms represented within a shield, while emblems of the home nations - a rose, a thistle, a shamrock and a leek - feature on the outside.

Coins displaying the Queen's portrait will continue to be legal tender, and will be gradually replaced with the newer coinage as they become damaged or worn. There are currently around 27 billion coins with Her Majesty's portrait in circulation in the UK, although it used to be common for coins featuring multiple monarchs to be in use at the same time.

Robyn is a celebrity and entertainment journalist and editor with over eight years experience in the industry. As well as contributing regular to woman&home, she also often writes for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman's Weekly and The Sun.