Royal Mail unveils image of King Charles to appear on everyday stamps

The monarch has chosen not to be depicted wearing a crown

A handout picture received from Britain's Royal Mail. AFP
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Britain's Royal Mail has unveiled the image of King Charles III that will appear on so-called “definitive stamps” intended for everyday use from April.

The monarch is shown looking to the left, like his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, before him.

But he has chosen not to be depicted wearing a crown, in a departure from her reign.

The new stamps will go on general sale from April 4.

Retailers will, however, continue to sell their existing stamps featuring the late queen, and be supplied with the new ones when current Royal Mail stocks have run out.

David Gold, Director of External Affairs and Policy at the Royal Mail, said the king was “very clear” he did not want existing stock to be 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 king approved the image that will appear on the stamps, he said.

“The guidance we were given was not to try to be too clever or to try to veer off into some different direction, but very much to keep that traditional image that we're all very much used to.

“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 world’s first postage stamp, the “Penny Black”, was issued in 1840, under Queen Victoria.

And in keeping with a tradition dating back to then, the new “definitive” stamp uses an adapted version of a portrait of Charles which is also appearing on new coinage.

One of the first sheets of the 1st class definitive stamp featuring King Charles III is unveiled as it goes on display at the Postal Museum in central London. PA

The king is the seventh British monarch to appear on a definitive stamp, which is the latest item in Britain to get a makeover following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

From coins and banknotes and to the official royal cypher used by the government, Britain has been slowly introducing replacements featuring the new monarch after his mother's death in September following a record-breaking 70 years on the throne.

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.

Royal Mail chief executive Simon Thompson said British stamps are unique in not having the country of origin printed on them, “as the image of the monarch is sufficient”.

Updated: February 08, 2023, 8:30 AM