…By Henry George for TDPel Media.
The issuance of British passports bearing the title “His Majesty” in the name of King Charles III will commence this week, replacing the previous title of “Her Majesty” used during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II for over 70 years.
This change marks the first time since 1952 that British passports will feature the title “His Majesty,” coinciding with the end of the reign of the last male monarch, King George VI.
Transition to “His Majesty” Title:
Home Secretary Suella Braverman described the introduction of the “His Majesty” title as a significant moment in UK history, signifying a new era.
She highlighted that for 70 years, British passports prominently displayed the name of Queen Elizabeth II, and this transition marks the beginning of British passports featuring the title of the current monarch, King Charles III.
King’s Passport Requirement:
Although the British passport bears the title of the reigning monarch, King Charles III does not personally own or require a passport for international travel.
As the sovereign, British passports are issued in the name of the monarch.
Previously, as the Prince of Wales, he held a passport, but it is no longer necessary in his current role.
Updated Passport Design and Phased Introduction:
The new British passports will display a representation of the Royal Arms on the first page.
The text on the page will read: “His Britannic Majesty’s Secretary of State requests and requires in the name of His Majesty all those whom it may concern to allow the bearer to pass freely without let or hindrance, and to afford the bearer such assistance and protection as may be necessary.”
The introduction of the passports will be implemented gradually, using a phased approach until all remaining stock featuring “Her Majesty” is depleted.
Continuation of Validity and Name Change:
British passports issued in the name of the late Queen Elizabeth II will remain valid travel documents.
The Her Majesty’s Passport Office has now been renamed His Majesty’s Passport Office following the passing of Elizabeth II, who held the title of the nation’s longest-reigning monarch until September 2022.
Improvements in Passport Processing:
The Home Office reported that during the first half of 2023, over 99% of the five million passports processed were delivered within the standard UK service timeframe of 10 weeks, with the majority well within this timeline.
However, Home Secretary Suella Braverman emphasized the importance of applying for passports well in advance to avoid potential delays, despite significant improvements made to the passport application process.
Previous Challenges and Reintroduction of Blue Passports:
In 2022, the Public Accounts Committee released a critical report highlighting unacceptable delays that affected hundreds of thousands of passport applicants.
These delays caused difficulties for individuals traveling for family emergencies, resulted in financial losses for planned vacations, and posed challenges in proving identity.
The report also identified weaknesses in how the Passport Office tracked processing times and the performance of its contractors.
In 2020, blue passports were reintroduced to replace the burgundy passports that had been in use since 1988, symbolizing Britain’s departure from the European Union and reflecting the preferences of Brexit supporters.
The rollout of British passports with the “His Majesty” title marks a significant shift in British passport history.
The transition from “Her Majesty” to “His Majesty” on travel documents corresponds with the current reign of King Charles III.
While valid passports bearing the late Queen Elizabeth II’s name remain in circulation, the new passports will be introduced gradually.
The Home Office has made improvements to passport processing times, and individuals are encouraged to apply well in advance.
The reintroduction of blue passports in 2020 aligned with the UK’s departure from the European Union.
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