Queen Elizabeth II’s Death Will Result in Currency, Passport and National Anthem Changes in the UK and Beyond
Queen Elizabeth II passed away on Thursday afternoon at the age of 96. During her extraordinary 70-year reign, the Queen witnessed crucial world events, and through it all, the royal remained a symbolic figure of elegance far beyond the United Kingdom. While she was primarily recognized as the UK’s head of state, her powers were influential and ceremonial to many countries in the world. Also head of the Commonwealth nations since her initial crowning in 1952, the beloved Queen has gathered followers and fame from all corners of the world.
All royal deaths cause a wave of uncertainty up to an extent, but the passing of Queen Elizabeth II marks the end of the era of a Queen’s rule, at least for the next few generations. The former Prince of Wales has been immediately appointed as King, meaning that several factors related to daily life in the United Kingdom will also need to be updated.
The British National anthem, coins, notes, stamps, postboxes, and passports are all expected to undergo changes over the course of the next few months. Scores of institutions in Britain and wider Commonwealth realms that were named in the Queen’s honor will also be changing. Given the Queen’s widespread influence in countries besides the UK, her effigy and portraits imprinted on bank notes and coins appeared in several countries including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the Eastern Caribbean—all of which may now see going through changes. Besides this, the Royal Cypher for Elizabeth II Regina and the insignia on police helmets will also be replaced.
With King Charles III swiftly making his way as Britain’s new leader, the Queen’s portraits on coins and notes will be replaced by that of the current king. However, reports suggest that the existing currency will take a long time to replace entirely – even several years or decades considering that many want to honor the Queen’s memory.
For the first time in this century, the national anthem of the UK undergoes a significant change of gender – from “God Save The Queen” to “God Save The King”. The male version of this anthem has not been sung since King George VI was the ruler of Britain in 1952. New Zealand, Australia, and Canada have also been following the Queen’s national anthem for the past 70 years. This sudden change may be one too hard to grasp for those mourning the beloved Queen.
The Queen’s influence made its way to British passports as well, where she was mentioned as follows: “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.” This wording will be undergoing a gender change as well.
Another aspect of Britain that will formidably undergo certain changes is the military. For the longest time, all new recruits in the military have been metaphorically taking the ‘Queen’s shilling’ to sign up as official protectors of the country — a practice that dates back to the English civil war in the 1600s. This meant a token of one shilling given to the armed recruits as gratitude by the royal family. Now, the ‘Queens shilling’, a tradition that’s carried forth for 70 years will be replaced by the ‘Kings shilling’ as it was in 1952. Moreover, common security roles including the Queen’s guard that stands outside Buckingham palace will also be changing names.
Read next: Processions, Tours, and a State Funeral: This Is the 10-Day Plan of Action Post Queen Elizabeth II’s Death