What the coronation of King Charles means for businesses

What the coronation of King Charles III means for businesses

The appointment of a new head of state can bring a host of opportunities for businesses. Here we look at what the first coronation in the UK for almost 70 years could mean for you.


The coronation ceremony of King Charles III will take place on Saturday 6th May at Westminster Abbey in London. The ceremony will be followed by an exciting weekend of official events, including a concert at Windsor Castle and more local festivities hosted by celebrants worldwide.

With a new monarch in the UK, many changes are on the horizon for business owners and like many world events, there are opportunities for brands to join in, pivot their thinking and capitalise on the occasion.

Here's everything e-commerce sellers need to know about King Charles’s coronation – how it could impact their brand, the value of global currencies from Commonwealth states and why you might experience operational difficulties from the extra public holidays.

What will happen to currency after the coronation of King Charles?

The image of Queen Elizabeth II is imprinted on more than £80 billion in banknotes in the United Kingdom alone. In addition, there's a great deal more money across the Commonwealth that bears her picture, too. Of the 54 Commonwealth countries, Queen Elizabeth II features in more than a dozen currencies, so a change of the monarch will affect a large number of bills.

New banknotes with King Charles’s image have been revealed and will come into circulation in the UK from 2024. In a similar move, there'll also be new stamps featuring the new monarch from April 2023. However, not all Commonwealth states will adopt the new king's image. For example, King Charles III won't appear on Australian currency. Regardless, there's been no declaration that money with the previous monarch will be made worthless after the coronation ceremony of King Charles III. In fact, there will likely be a collectors market for the old notes. If you primarily work in bank or wire transfers (rather than cash since you run an online business), you probably won’t even notice the change, so you shouldn’t worry about replacing any physical notes since this will happen over time.

How will the value of GBP change before, during and after the coronation?

A range of factors affect currency values, one of which is political stability, so the coronation ceremony of King Charles could impact the value of GBP. For example, its value fell slightly with the Queen's passing in 2022, as the UK lost its longest-standing head of state. Similar situations, like election results, can also affect the value of currencies positively or negatively. If you want to forward plan and learn more about mitigating FX risk by putting a currency strategy in place, get in touch with the team at WorldFirst to discuss your options.

King Charles’s coronation is a unique event since it’s a formal ceremony rather than an unexpected political outcome. For this reason, it’s unlikely that the value of GBP will fall. In fact, the value of GBP may rise as economic activity across the UK increases and people celebrate the coronation (and the public holidays associated with it). This means that e-commerce merchants selling to Commonwealth nations or dealing in GBP could benefit from locking in exchange rates with a forward contract

How will public holidays for the Coronation of King Charles III change?

Public holidays associated with the coronation will depend on where you operate. For example, the UK will have an extra public holiday on Monday, 8th May, but the story is a little more mixed across the Commonwealth. Western Australia may get an extra public holiday. However, the rest of the country, along with New Zealand, appear not to be following suit. The same is true for Canada, Jamaica, Papua New Guinea and other Commonwealth realms.

That being said, because the coronation ceremony of King Charles already takes place on Saturday 6th May, most celebrants will be off from work anyway. As a result, it’s less likely that you’ll experience any logistical difficulties from warehouse and delivery workers taking time off, so you’ll be able to focus more on sales opportunities. The only exception is the UK, where an extra public holiday has been confirmed, so if you sell to customers in this region, you may need to adjust your logistics.

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How will businesses be impacted by the Coronation Day of Volunteering

A special day of volunteering scheduled for Monday 8th May, called "The Big Help Out", is part of the extended weekend of coronation events. Organised by the Together Coalition along with The Scouts, the Royal Voluntary Service and faith groups, the event will highlight the positive impact volunteering has on local communities. As such, people are invited to take part and support their local areas.

Businesses can stay open, but the event is a great opportunity for brands to attract customers by pledging a percentage of their profits from that day’s sales to an important or local charity. There's no official sponsor for the day, so businesses are free to choose a beneficiary and even join in with local events. As with public holidays, online merchants selling in the UK may experience interruptions to their operations as some workers may be taking time off. 


Key takeaways

Unlike other democratic political events, the changing of a monarch is typically a once-in-a-lifetime occasion. As such, the Coronation represents a significant change to the UK and other Commonwealth nations, so it’s understandable if you’re worried about currency values fluctuating or logistical challenges in the short term.

However, businesses will be able to handle the transition smoothly with some forward planning and a reliable currency partner that can help them access safe, secure currency transfers at reliable rates.

The World Account from WorldFirst is designed for cross-border businesses trading in multiple currencies. Plus, with access to forward contracts, you can secure a great FX rate for up to 2 years in the future. Find out more about the World Account here or give our customer service team a call on +44 207 326 9120 and we’ll be happy to help you. 


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