Charles III’s New Cypher Explained, How They Work In England And Scotland


All kinds of changes are being made to the day-to-day operations of the British monarchy in the wake of the death of Queen Elizabeth. One of those changes? A new royal cypher for King Charles III. 

What Is A Royal Cypher?

A royal cypher is a monogram-like symbol used by the monarchy. It typically consists of the reigning monarch’s name and title initials, with the letters interwoven and topped with the symbol of a crown. These cyphers appear everywhere from official royal and government documents to mailboxes. 

RELATED: What Does The ‘R’ Mean At The End Of King Charles’ Signature?

Queen Elizabeth’s was the letters “E” and “R,” connected by “II” to symbolize that she was the second Queen Elizabeth. Buckingham Palace recently revealed King Charles’ royal cypher, which will now start appearing on royal documents. 

Why The Scottish Cypher Is Different, Plus Queen Elizabeth’s Troubles With Scottish Cypher

The king’s cypher is in interconnected “C” and “R,” with “III” in the center of the R. The letters are underneath a crown. However, there is another version of King Charles’ cypher, too: The second version is for Scotland and features a picture of the Scottish crown instead of the British Tudor crown. 

The king’s mother had her own issues when it came time to design a cypher for use in Scotland. Referred to as “The Pillar Box Wars,” many objected to the cypher because it featured “II,” implying that Queen Elizabeth I had ruled Scotland. 

In 1953, legal action was even taken to challenge Queen Elizabeth’s right to call herself Elizabeth the Second in Scotland. However, the case was tossed out due to the fact that it fell within the royal prerogative, meaning the queen was allowed to adopt any title she wanted to call herself. 

Will King Charles’ Cypher Show Up On Mailboxes?

Now that King Charles’ royal cypher has been revealed, the symbol can start being placed on documents. However, the cyphers on British mailboxes will stay the same; post office boxes bear the cypher of the monarch who was in power when the box was installed. 

Most mailboxes you see in the UK today have Queen Elizabeth’s cypher due to the fact that many mailboxes were replaced during her 70-year reign. However, there are still a few British mailboxes that have cyphers for monarchs from before the queen’s reign. 

RELATED: Queen Elizabeth’s Royal Title Before Her Coronation Hasn’t Been Used Since, But That Could Change Soon

The oldest post office box still in use today is on Guernsey, a small island in the English Channel. It has the initials of Queen Victoria, whose reign ended with her death in 1901. Now that King Charles has an official cypher, British citizens might start seeing it pop up on post office boxes. 

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