Royal Mail unveils first look at stamps featuring King Charles portrait
The executive of the Royal Mail has described the first portrait of the new monarch as a “defining part” of his reign.
The definitive stamps – sometimes referred to as ‘everyday stamps’ – feature a simple and uncluttered design that is inspired by the late Queen’s own portrait with a barcode alongside.
The new stamp design includes an image of the King facing left just as all monarchs have done since the world’s first postage stamp – the Penny Black – was issued in 1840 with Queen Victoria’s portrait.
King Charles insists the Queen’s stamps are not pulped as Royal Mail reveals new portrait
The King reportedly wanted to maintain “continuity” and did not want existing stamp stocks showing the Queen pulped, but used up over time, according to the Royal Mail’s director of external affairs and policy David Gold.
Mr Gold said: “The guidance we got from His Majesty was more about continuity and not doing anything too different to what had gone before.
“I think perhaps there’s an acknowledgement that, for 70 years people have been so used to seeing the image of Her Majesty, even though actually the current image only started in 1967, they didn’t want to do anything too different to what had gone before.
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“Personally, I think what marks this stamp out is that there is no embellishment at all, no crown, just simply the face of the human being, on the plain background, almost saying, ‘this is me and I’m at your service’, which I think in this modern age is actually rather humbling.”
The stamps’ design was based on a profile sculpture created of the King for the Royal Mint’s coins by British artist Martin Jennings.
A team for the Royal Mail adapted an image of the artwork and adjusted and relighted the picture to use for the new stamps.
Mr Gold also shared some insight into the efforts of the Royal Mail team who began working on the project following the Queen’s death in September, he said: “I don’t underestimate how challenging it was for them.
“But also I know that I can say on their behalf how privileged they felt to be able to work on this project… it will forever be a part of history. It’s a clear, defining part of the reign of King Charles.”
When will the King Charles stamps be available?
The new stamps go on sale from April 4 but you can now register interest – whether you are a collector or member of the general public – on Royal Mail’s website.
Post offices and other retailers will not start selling the new stamps until their stocks featuring the late Queen are sold.
Mr Gold said: “The King gave very clear directions he didn’t want anything to be pulped, he didn’t want things being shredded, he didn’t want stock being thrown away.
“He was very clear, however long it takes you to clear the stock there’s no rush, and that’s entirely in line with his well stated principles on waste and environmentalism.”
The new first class stamp will form part of an exhibition at London’s Postal Museum about the nation’s definitive stamps called The King’s Stamp, which runs until September 23.
The display will celebrate the newest stamp design with a unique chance to see a sheet of King Charles III first class stamps before they are in public circulation.
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