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King Charles III's royal cypher revealed to public


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Buckingham Palace has unveiled the royal cypher of King Charles III. 

The palace used the symbol for the first time Tuesday in letters sent from the Royal Households. 

Royal cyphers are stylized monograms signifying the reigning sovereign of a country or members of the royal family. They are used extensively as marks of authority in European monarchies, including Spain, Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Romania. 

A detailed view of a letter franked with the new cypher of King Charles III at the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace on Sept. 27, 2022, in London. 

A detailed view of a letter franked with the new cypher of King Charles III at the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace on Sept. 27, 2022, in London. 
(Yui Mok – Pool/Getty Images)

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In the United Kingdom, royal cyphers appear on government property and uniforms to denote ownership by the king or queen. British royal cyphers can be found on postboxes, guard uniforms, royal mail, banners and more. 

Charles’s cypher features the letters “C” and “R” standing for the name “Charles” and the Latin word “Rex” meaning “king.” An additional “III” mark is enclosed in the “R” signifying that Charles is the third king of England to bear the name. 

As with most British monarchs, the monogram is displayed underneath a rendering of St. Edward’s Crown, the centerpiece of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom.

The first letters are franked with the new cypher of King Charles III in the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace on Sept. 27, 2022 in London.

The first letters are franked with the new cypher of King Charles III in the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace on Sept. 27, 2022 in London.
(Yui Mok – Pool/Getty Images)

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Charles’s late mother, Queen Elizabeth II, bore a cypher of “E” and “R” surrounding the Roman numeral “II,” all under the same British crown.

This monogram was visible throughout the deceased monarch’s funeral.

Both Charles and Elizabeth retain alternative versions of their cypher for use in Scotland, where their initials are topped by the more appropriate Crown of Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth II's cypher on a horse saddle in Windsor on Sept. 19, 2022, during her state funeral.

Queen Elizabeth II’s cypher on a horse saddle in Windsor on Sept. 19, 2022, during her state funeral.
(Carl Recine/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

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Replacing the cypher of a deceased monarch can be a grueling process as different government offices arrange to replace property bearing outdated monograms. Because of this, the government does not alter postboxes or other public resources bearing outdated cyphers, and only typically change monograms when replacing them.

U.K. postboxes still exist in use that bear the monogram of King George V, who began his reign in 1910.

Some government buildings bear the cypher of the royal they were established under, but updating or maintaining the decoration is left to the discretion of individual officials.

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The cypher of Queen Elizabeth II is pictured on the uniform of a royal guard standing at Westminster Abbey in London on Sept. 19, 2022.

The cypher of Queen Elizabeth II is pictured on the uniform of a royal guard standing at Westminster Abbey in London on Sept. 19, 2022.
(Hannah McKay/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

New paper currency featuring a portrait of King Charles III is expected to enter circulation by 2024. 

Coins featuring the new monarch’s profile are also expected to enter the U.K. economy in the future, as well as postal stamps.

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