The situation with mailboxes is a little different. There are 115,000 ciphers across the UK, most of them bearing the Queen’s ciphers, but there are still some with ciphers from previous monarchs, including Victoria. Gold said that hundreds of new mailboxes are installed every year, and it is only on the new mailboxes that a portrait of Charles III is introduced.
Existing UK coins and banknotes will also remain in effect, although they will be replaced as new coins and banknotes come into circulation in the coming months and years. A team of designers will first present a portrait of Charles III to the king. His head will be facing left, following the coin tradition of monarchs facing alternating directions. The king will scrutinize the design and may approve it for use there. It will then be adopted by the Royal Mint and stamped on the reverse of every new coin. In addition, the Bank of England will print banknotes depicting the king.
One design change that could come soon is the uniforms worn by military regiments associated with the royal family, such as those of the Household Cavalry.
“Every button you wear has the Royal Code on it,” recalls Richard Negus, a former Household Cavalry member who is now a conservationist and environmentalist. Other uniforms and paraphernalia such as swords also carry codes. Negus said he hopes this will be updated soon: “Otherwise, it’s in bad form — you’re wearing a uniform that’s basically outdated.” WIRED understands that design decisions that affect the cap badge and the crown displayed on the buttons are the new king’s own business.
Likewise, some police forces use the Queen’s Code on their uniforms. The traditional domed custodian helmet or ‘Bobby’s helmet’ used by the Metropolitan Police and some other forces has a cipher that stands out, for example, at the centre of a silver sign called the Brunswick star.
Suppliers of police uniforms contacted by Wired did not respond to requests for comment about possible changes to the uniforms to reflect the new monarch. A spokesman for the National Police Chiefs’ Council said: “We can imagine that after the national mourning period is over, the force will consider moving forward, possibly in conversations with the Cabinet Office.”
“EIIR” has become very familiar as a symbol, as are the Queen’s portraits such as Famous portrait of Arnold Machin For stamps, says Pauline Maclaren of Royal Holloway, University of London. “It would be weird, it would fade into the background,” she added.
But these things will fade, if not completely. This has actually happened for decades as nations modernized and freed themselves from the shackles of the British Empire. The Queen was once more prominent than it is today, especially in certain countries of the Commonwealth.
“At one point, you’ll see the Queen’s portrait everywhere. [Australian] School classrooms – long gone,” said Cindy McCreery, senior lecturer in the Department of History at the University of Sydney.