King Charles III's New Royal Cypher: What Does It Mean?

King Charles III's new royal cypher has been revealed by Buckingham Palace, as the official royal mourning period for the death of Queen Elizabeth II ended in Britain on Monday.

In accordance with the wishes of Charles, members of the royal family and their households observed an additional week of mourning for the late queen after her state funeral, which took place at Westminster Abbey on September 19.

With the end of mourning, flags have been raised to their full height above the royal residences and members of the royal family, including the Prince and Princess of Wales, will begin to undertake their regular program of events.

King Charles III Royal Cyper
King Charles III photographed at Buckingham Palace on September 11, 2022. The king's royal cypher (inset) was released by Buckingham Palace on September 26, 2022. Victoria Jones - WPA Pool/Getty Images/Buckingham Palace

The royal cypher is a stylized monogram that will become an important symbol of the new king's time on the throne. But what else is there to know about a royal cypher? What's the symbolism behind Charles's one and where are they used? Newsweek has all the answers.

What Is a Royal Cypher?

A royal cypher is the personal monogram of the monarch, which is used to mark their property, official documentation and objects closely associated with their reign, including the buttons and insignia of branches of the armed forces.

The cypher is considered the personal property of the monarch and is only allowed to be used officially with their permission.

The king or queen of the day selects their own cypher from designs supplied to them by The College of Arms, which was founded in 1484 and has jurisdiction over the heraldic matters of England, Wales, Northern Ireland.

By tradition, the monarch has a different royal cypher in Scotland, which is approved by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, a representative of the Scottish state.

What Does King Charles III's Cypher Look Like and Why?

King Charles III's cypher was revealed by Buckingham Palace on September 26, having been personally selected by the king following his accession.

The cypher features his initials "C R" these stand for Charles and Rex. Rex being the Latin term for king.

Queen Elizabeth II's royal cypher featured the initials "E R" standing for Elizabeth Regina. Regina being Latin for queen.

The interlocking "C R" features "III" in the center denoting that Charles is the third monarch to rule under that name.

King Charles III Logo
King Charles III new royal cypher has been revealed as the period of royal mourning for Queen Elizabeth II ends. The monarch has a different royal cypher in Scotland. Buckingham Palace

Atop the initials is a stylized crown. In the cypher used in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, the crown is a version of the Tudor crown, which was last used in the cypher of his grandfather, King George VI.

Queen Elizabeth II's cypher featured a stylized version of St Edward's crown, the piece of regalia used at the moment of her coronation.

For the Scottish cypher, Charles' initials are topped with a version of the crown of Scotland, which forms part of the Scottish crown jewels.

What Are Royal Cyphers Used for?

The new cypher of King Charles III will be used on government buildings, official documentation and newly installed mailboxes.

The replacement of cyphers belonging to previous monarchs on buildings is done at the discretion of the property owners and managers, but is uncommon, with many buildings still displaying the cyphers of Queen Victoria around London and other U.K. towns and cities.

Royal Cyphers in Action
A British mailbox on May 6, 2018, and a member of an armed forces band on September 10, 2022. The royal cyphers of Queen Elizabeth II "E II R" will soon be replaced with "C III R." Tim Graham/Getty Images/TOBY MELVILLE/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Mailboxes feature the monarch's cypher, as in Britain the national postal service acts in the monarch's name and bares the name Royal Mail.

Cyphers on mailboxes aren't replaced unless repairs to the fabric of the box are not viable. Newly installed mailboxes are likely to feature King Charles' cypher in the coming months.

Royal cyphers also feature in military uniforms and these will begin a period of replacement as they now serve Charles and not Elizabeth. The replacement on badges and insignia is expected to have been initiated by November, when the monarch will take part in the national remembrance day commemorations.