It's now official: the Bank of England announced today that Jane Austen will take the place of Charles Darwin on the £10 note. In June, the retiring governor of the bank said that Austen was "waiting in the wings" to grace the note, after the elimination of another woman from the face of the currency created a scandal.
"Jane Austen certainly merits a place in the select group of historical figures to appear on our banknotes," the bank's new governor Mark Carney said in a statement, according to the Associated Press. "Her novels have an enduring and universal appeal and she is recognized as one of the greatest writers in English literature." Per the BBC, Chancellor George Osborne used the announcement as an opportunity to pun on Twitter: "Mark Carney’s choice of Jane Austen as face of £10 note is great. After understandable row over lack of women, shows sense and sensibility." Good one. At least it wasn't "cents and sensibility." Strangely enough, as the AP points out, the note will feature a quote from Austen about reading, though she often commented on matters related to money.
Austen was initially mentioned for the £10 note after the bank faced protests following the announcement that Winston Churchill would replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry on £5 bills. That would have left only one woman on the British currency—the Queen.
There are already people griping on Twitter about Darwin being replaced:
@RichardDawkins Darwin is to be replaced by Austen on the ten pound note. Darwin's global influence is vast in comparison. This is awful.— Andrew Cummins (@Vodkaninja) July 24, 2013
I much prefer having Darwin on the ten pound note to Austen. And no, that isn't because she is a bloody woman.— T. S. Lambert (@MrThomasLambert) July 24, 2013
Great to have Jane Austin on 10 pound notes, but the reasons for removing Charles Darwin are absolutely pathetic. http://t.co/lP7CiosWfl— Thomas R. Bennett (@ThomasRBennett) July 24, 2013
Austen won't actually begin showing up until 2016 or 2017.