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Change for change? Queen Elizabeth's likeness updated on British coins

British money will look a bit different in the coming months: Coins will bear an updated, age-appropriate portrait of Queen Elizabeth II. It's the fifth coin portrait of the queen and the first new one since 1998.

"The queen shows her age as portrait is updated on coins," the Guardian wrote on March 2 when the new coins were revealed.

FULL COVERAGE: Queen Elizabeth Turns 90 >>

Royal Mint engraver Jody Clark submitted the design when he was 33 years old, becoming the youngest of the five designers to create a portrait.

Queen Elizabeth turns 89 on April 21.

There have been five coin portraits of her to date, starting in 1953. That first portrait of the young queen, who had ascended to the throne after her father King George VI died, shows a youngish girl with a wreath of laurel instead of a crown on her head.

In 1968 a new portrait added the crown, and updated coins were issued in 1985 and 1998.

Queen Elizabeth II has reigned for 63 years (King George died Feb. 6, 1952) and is on track to become Britain's longest-reigning monarch. Queen Victoria held the throne from 1837 to 1901. Elizabeth will surpass Victoria's record on Sept. 9.

Back to the coins.

The Royal Mint announced another change to the change: Britannia -- which the Express called "our nation’s familiar yet mysterious guardian spirit" -- will be back on British 2-pound coins. The image that personifies the nation had been on the "tails" side of coins since the reign of Charles II in 1672.

She was dumped in 2008 in favor of the royal shield of arms design -- but now she's back.


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