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Will King Charles replace the Queen on Canada's currency? Here's what we know


Although it has been months since King Charles III assumed his new role as monarch, Canada has yet to update its currency to include images of the new sovereign.

Following her death on Sept. 8, the late Queen Elizabeth II continues to be featured on the $20 bill and Canadian coins. Having spent 70 years on the throne, she is Canada’s longest-reigning monarch.

While there is no legislation requiring Canada to feature the reigning monarch on its currency, doing so is a long-standing tradition. But as of now, a timeline for replacing images of the Queen on coins and bills remains unclear.

According to the Bank of Canada, which produces the country’s banknotes, it will be years before images of the King appear on the $20 bill. The current $20 banknote is intended to circulate for years to come, said Bank of Canada spokesperson Amelie Ferron-Craig.

“Once a new portrait subject has been selected, the banknote design process begins, and the banknote is ready to be issued a few years later,” Ferron-Craig told in an email on April 12.

In accordance with the Bank of Canada Act, the minister of finance is responsible for approving the portrait subject of new banknotes. The Bank of Canada has not received any kind of approval from the ministry regarding the design of a new $20 banknote, Ferron-Craig said.

When it comes to coinage, the Royal Canadian Mint is responsible for manufacturing and distributing Canada’s coins. The Mint’s senior manager of public affairs, Alex Reeves, said the federal government has jurisdiction over coin design, but directive on a new look involving the King’s effigy has not yet been issued. Until further notice, the Mint will continue to produce coins with images of Queen Elizabeth, Reeves said.

“We have a team and process in place to implement, in a timely manner, the government’s decision once it is announced,” Reeves told in an email on April 12.


CTV News royal commentator Richard Berthelsen says he expects the federal government to announce plans for new designs before the King’s coronation on May 6.

“There is a degree of public interest in knowing what the Canadian government is doing to commemorate the coronation and the start of the new reign,” Berthelsen told in a telephone interview on April 13. “The coronation would be a natural occasion when there might be announcements about some of these items.”

Any images of the King used in Canada will require his approval, Berthelsen said.

“It'll be imagery produced in Canada, we won't be using the British imagery,” Berthelsen said. “But it is always sent for the approval of the [monarch] before it is used, just as it is in the U.K.”

In the United Kingdom, the Bank of England has already revealed the new design of its banknotes featuring King Charles III. These notes include 5, 10, 20 and 50-pound bills. The King’s portrait will replace the existing images of Queen Elizabeth II, while the rest of each banknote’s design will remain the same.

The new notes will enter circulation by mid-2024, according to the Bank of England’s website. Bills featuring images of the late Queen will continue to circulate and are still considered legal tender.

Coinage with the King’s official effigy began circulating in December 2022, starting with the 50-pence coin and a commemorative 5-pound coin. According to the Royal Mint, the effigy was approved by King Charles himself. In keeping with tradition, the King’s portrait shows him looking to the left, the opposite direction of his mother’s portrait.

“Unlike the [United Kingdom’s] Royal Mint and the Bank of England, which seem to have a plan to transition quite quickly, we haven’t really seen that it Canada,” Berthelsen said. “The U.K. was a lot better prepared for this transition.”

Two new coins bearing official coinage portrait of King Charles III, on the left is the new 50-pence coin, and right is the new 5-pound commemorative coin, which will be among the first coins to bear the new King's head, during a press preview in London on Sept. 29, 2022. The likeness of the king was created by British sculptor Martin Jennings, and approved by the King. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)


In February, Australia’s central bank said it will be removing images of the monarchy from its banknotes. According to a press release issued Feb. 2, the Reserve Bank of Australia will be updating the country’s $5 bill to include an Indigenous design instead of King Charles. The current $5 bill includes a portrait of the late Queen and is the only Australian banknote with a member of the Royal Family.

The central bank plans to consult with Indigenous groups about the new design, a process it says could take years to complete. Meanwhile, King Charles’ image is still expected to replace the late Queen’s portrait on coins that will enter circulation later this year.

Australian $5 notes are pictured in Sydney on Sept. 10, 2022. King Charles III won’t feature on Australia's new $5 bill, the nation's central bank announced on Feb. 2, 2023, signalling a phasing out of the monarchy from Australian bank notes, although he is still expected to feature on coins. (AP Photo/Mark Baker, File)

It’s still unclear whether the Canadian government will choose to do something similar, although it’s entirely possible, Berthelsen said.

Subjects of banknotes have varied throughout the decades, ranging from reigning monarchs and their family members to former Canadian prime ministers. In 2018, Canada launched a new $10 bill featuring Viola Desmond, a civil rights advocate from Nova Scotia. Desmond is the first woman outside the Royal Family to be featured on Canadian currency.

“They may choose to say, ‘We’re going to take advantage of this occasion and on the $20 bill, we’re going to move away from the current sovereign,’” Berthelsen said. “[Their philosophy] has kind of changed over the years, so there's no reason it can't change again.”

Keeping the late Queen on the $20 bill is another option, Berthelsen said. The government could decide to continue featuring Queen Elizabeth II “on a historic basis,” seeing as she is Canada’s longest-reigning sovereign.

“She's a historic figure now and we have other historic figures on banknotes, they’re not all living,” he said.

But when it comes to coinage, Canada maintains a long-standing tradition of updating effigies to represent the current sovereign, said Berthelsen. As a result, it’s likely the Royal Canadian Mint will update its coin design to include King Charles.


According to government protocol, portraits of the late Queen Elizabeth II will be replaced with those of King Charles III when a new portrait becomes available. These portraits will be printed and framed for use in Canadian government offices and institutions.

In an email to on April 13, Canadian Heritage said it reached out to Buckingham Palace requesting an official Canadian portrait of King Charles III shortly after the Queen’s death. The department is now “working on the production of an official Canadian portrait of The King and will release it as soon as it is available.”

This comes after the first official portrait of King Charles III was unveiled on March 29. The oil painting was commissioned by the Illustrated London News (ILN) and done by Alastair Balford.

The official Canadian portrait will likely show the King with the Canadian orders, decorations and medals he holds, Berthelsen said. The Canadian government also likely commissioned different versions of the portrait, including one of King Charles alone and another featuring the King alongside Queen Camilla.

With files from The Associated Press and The Canadian Press Top Stories

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