The (royal monetary) equilibrium

There are 29 billion British coins in circulation with Queen Elizabeth II’s face on them. Since she first appeared on the coins, a year after her ascension in 1952, the Royal Mint has used five different portraits. And on all of them, she faces to the right.

Now it’s King Charles III’s turn to be on the coins, but he’ll most likely be facing the other direction.

Since the reign of Charles II in the 17th century, the monarch has typically faced the opposite position of their predecessor on coins, according to the Royal Family’s website. Because Queen Elizabeth faced to the right, the new king will presumably be shown facing left.

There was one exception: Edward VIII, who was king for less than one year in 1936, faced to the left because that is what he preferred, even though the monarch before him, George V, also looked left. The tradition was resumed with George VI, who faced left. He served until he died in 1952.

Here is the full NYT article.


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