When The Queen Dies The Pound Sterling Is Going To Look A Lot Different

Currently circling her 96th year around the sun, Queen Elizabeth II has ruled England for 70 years, making her the "longest-reigning monarch in the history of the United Kingdom," per Architectural Digest. As she approaches her centennial year, people have begun to wonder what will happen when the queen inevitably dies (per British Heritage Travel). Like all royal events, the affair is full of uniquely British eccentricities and strange rules the British royal family has to follow.

For example, all royal family members are given code names. Elizabeth's father, King George VI — whose life was the central story of the 2010 film "The King's Speech" — was known as "Hyde Park Corner," "while that of the Queen Mother was Tay Bridge," per British Heritage Travel. Queen Elizabeth II has secured the name "London Bridge," so that when she eventually dies, the officials working behind the scenes will say "London Bridge is down" (via British Heritage). Of course, Elizabeth's son Prince Charles will take the throne and the queen will have a royal funeral. But the queen's death will also require a slight change in currency, per My London News.

The history of the queen's notes

According to the Bank of England Museum, a portrait of the young queen first appeared on the £1 note in 1960, quickly followed by her appearance on the 10 shilling note in 1961. With his portrayal of the queen wearing the Diamond Diadem, designer Robert Austin captured the queen's regality on both notes, according to some. But others criticized his portrayal, saying it was unrealistic (via Bank of England Museum).

Per The Royal Family, people have been designing banknotes with monarchs for more than 10 centuries, when "coinage played a part in spreading the fame of kings." When monarchs were introduced to notes and coins, the royal family started the tradition of having the queen face "in the opposite direction to their immediate predecessor." The exception was King Edward VIII, who preferred to have his portraits facing the left to showcase his good side (via The Royal Family).

New currency

The British Treasury has likely already started printing new notes and coins with Prince Charles' face on them (facing the opposite direction of Queen Elizabeth's currency portrait), per Insider. However, the current notes with the queen's portrait on them "won't be replaced overnight," and will still function for years to come, according to Insider. Per the Bank of England, the country currently has more than 4.7 billion Bank of England notes in circulation, totaling about £82 billion. As a result, reprinting the stock costs a pretty penny and takes time. The old coins will gradually phase out of circulation much like the notes of prior kings and queens in the royal family have.

Among the new words for the national anthem, new insignia for police officer uniforms, and new passports that will all be issued after the sad day when Queen Elizabeth inevitably dies, so too will new coinage be issued (via Insider). Perhaps the silver sterling — er, lining — for Britain is that they get to hold onto a piece of the queen in their wallets for at least a little bit longer.