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Cash is king: Charles III banknotes enter circulation

 New notes featuring King Charles III. [Bank of England/PA]

British banknotes bearing the image of King Charles III entered circulation for the first time on Wednesday, nearly two years after he succeeded his mother Queen Elizabeth II.

The four banknotes with the king's portrait on the front carry values of £5 ($6.4), £10, £20 and £50 and will be used alongside those bearing the image of Elizabeth, who died in September 2022.

Coins bearing Charles's head entered circulation in December 2022.

The updates come as Britons increasingly use physical and online bank cards, rather than cash, to make payments.

But Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey called it "a historic moment", with the late queen having served a record 70 years on the throne.

"We know that cash is important for many people, and we are committed to providing banknotes for as long as the public demand them," he added.

Based on a photograph owned by the royal household and made available in 2013, Charles in late 2022 approved the final designs of the notes featuring his engraved portrait.

The new cash - made from polymer that has already been used to replace paper money in the UK since 2016 -- will gradually replace the older notes.

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