Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will become the first British Monarch to celebrate a Platinum Jubilee after 70 years of service. Throughout her reign, The Queen has witnessed a number of changes to the UK monetary system.
One of the most significant changes was the move away from pounds, shillings and pence in 1971 toward the currency we use today, in the process known as decimalisation. This shift in currency was introduced to simplify the tendering of money and ease the process of international trade where decimalised currency was mostly used.
In 1960, 8 years after Her Majesty’s Coronation as Queen, she appeared on our banknotes as we know them today. Since then, we’ve seen 19 other historical figures featured on banknotes, including three pioneering women: Florence Nightingale, who appeared on the £10 note between 1975 and 1992; Elizabeth Fry, who featured on a £5 note which was in circulation between 2002 and 2016; and Jane Austen, who appeared on our £10 notes from 2017.
Not only has the physical appearance of money changed, but so has the value. From 1975, 23 years into Her Majesty’s reign, there have been 243 interest rate changes. Based on an average annual inflation rate of 4.5%, £100 in 1952 would be worth £2,145.21 today. Being the longest standing monarch, Queen Elizabeth II has worked alongside 17 chancellors and 14 prime ministers, and witnessed the 6 recessions that the UK has experienced since 1952.
When thinking of the future of money in the UK, The Bank of England states that banknotes are reflective of the UK’s values and achievements. Hopefully this means we’ll see figures on banknotes who have contributed positively to the UK from a broader range of backgrounds, with future designs aimed to represent the public more accurately through diversity
Millions of people across the UK are expected to celebrate the Platinum Jubilee by attending 1 (or more) of the 16,000 street parties, parades and concerts planned. Make sure to also keep an eye out for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee 50p coin. 1.3 million have begun circulating and it is predicted to be the rarest coin of the decade!