The Bank of England's chief has hinted that Jane Austen could become the new face of Britain's 10-pound note.

The bank's outgoing governor, Mervyn King, told lawmakers Tuesday that the "Pride and Prejudice" novelist is the leading candidate to replace Charles Darwin on the banknote.

King's comments came after the bank earlier announced it will replace social reformer Elizabeth Fry with Winston Churchill on the 5-pound note, a move that prompted outcries that no woman except Queen Elizabeth II would be represented on Bank of England bills.

The bank has not yet made a decision on when the 10-pound note will be changed.

Aside from Fry and the queen, only one other woman — Florence Nightingale — has appeared on the bills since historical figures were introduced in 1970.