New UK passports to be issued in the name of His Majesty King Charles for the first time

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New UK passports will now bear the title ‘His Majesty’ for the first time since 1952.

British passports with King Charles’ title will start being issued this week, the Home Secretary has announced today. It will be the first time UK passports have been issued in the name of ‘his majesty’ for the first time in 70 years.

More than five million passports have already been issued this year and the update comes ahead of a busy summer period for the passport office. It says within the first six months of this year more than 99% of passports have been issued in the 10-week time frame given to people in the UK.

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Home Secretary Suella Braverman said: “For 70 years, Her Majesty has appeared on British passports and many of us will not remember a time when she did not feature. Today marks a significant moment in UK history, as the first British passports since 1952 start featuring the title of His Majesty, the King.

“As HM Passport Office enters a new era in its history, it is delivering an exceptional service and I am extremely grateful for their outstanding accomplishments and the unwavering dedication of the whole team to meet the needs of the British public. While vast improvements have been made, I continue to urge the public to make sure they apply for passports in good time.”

The earliest recorded British passport can be traced back to the reign of Henry V in 1414 and documents were known as safe conducts.  It was not until 1915 that the first modern-style British passports, including a photograph and signature were first issued. 

The first security feature, a special watermark, was introduced in passports in 1972. Since then, a large number of security features have been incorporated into British passports, from watermarks, holograms, elaborately printed patterns, to the polycarbonate page; meaning British nationals can have confidence that there is only one issue of their unique document.

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King Charles III and Queen Camilla attend the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication.King Charles III and Queen Camilla attend the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication.
King Charles III and Queen Camilla attend the National Service of Thanksgiving and Dedication. | Getty Images

The first burgundy-coloured machine-readable passports were issued in 1988 and over 30 years later, in 2020, the distinctive blue cover was re-introduced following the departure of the UK from the EU.

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