Dear “La Oferta” Readers:
While the people of Great Britain, the Commonwealth Countries and may I add the world celebrate and pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the oldest monarch who is marking her 70 years on the Royal throne, may I share my personal memories expressed in my previous article published in the “Kstati” newspaper on May 8, 2016.
Posted By: Lina Broydo
Philatelists of the world rejoice! Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has given her official stamp of approval to British Royal Mail on the issue of a sheet of ten brand new definitive stamps commemorating her 90th birthday and her 64th anniversary of accession to the throne. The Queen is the longest reigning U.K. monarch and also the oldest reigning monarch in the world. Wherever she is in the world, the Queen is always on duty. Her Majesty never stops being the Head of State, Fount of Justice, Defender of the Faith, Head of the Armed Forces, Head of the Commonwealth, Head of Nation and much else. As she herself acknowledged in a speech broadcast to the Commonwealth on the day she turned 21, ‘’My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service.’’ These words concluded a historic speech which, at the time, was said to have reduced former Prime Minister Winston Churchill to tears.
The six new special stamps celebrate Her Royal Highness the Queen’s birthday with three stamps focusing on Her Majesty’s family life and three honoring the Queen’s official role. The family stamps include an image of the Queen with her children, the young Prince Charles and Princess Anne in 1952, as well as a stamp with her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh in 1957. This is also the first time Royal Mail has issued a stamp featuring the Queen with her father. The stamps also mark the Queen’s official duties: as Head of State for the opening of Parliament in 2012; as Head of the Commonwealth where she is depicted with Nelson Mandela in 1996; and on a state visit to New Zealand in 1977. The images represent more than 100 state visits made worldwide by Her Majesty since her accession.
But the latest buzz and excitement around the globe surrounds the newest specially-commissioned family portrait of four generations of the House of Windsor, which will make its way into stamp collection. Taken by photographer Ronald Mackechnie for Royal Mail in the summer of 2015 in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, it features the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George of Cambridge. This is the debut of the smiling and adorable Prince George on a Royal Mail stamp.
The perforations in the stamp sheet are positioned to create a postage stamp for each member of the Family. ‘’In the UK, stamps are seen as being very traditional and are synonymous with British culture,’’ confirmed the spokesperson for the Queen. ‘’As the Queen’s celebration is an event of such national significance, a set of stamps dedicated to this special occasion have generated a lot of interestOn her recent April 21 visit to the Royal Mail Windsor delivery office on William Street, Queen Elizabeth II was presented with the first in a limited edition of 90 framed sets that bring together stamps issued to mark her 90th birthday and her significant achievements over the years. This visit marked the 500th anniversary of the postal service. ‘’Royal Mail is proud of our enduring association with Her Majesty The Queen. It is the company’s honor to play a part in a historic celebration of the Queen,’’ stated an executive at Royal Mail. ‘’The Queen’s image is one of the most recognizable in the world and we are delighted to bring these iconic images together to mark the anniversary of the Queen’s accession and her very special birthday.’’
With the recent royal celebration in Great Britain, I was inspired to view our family’s albums with stamps collected over sixty years by my husband Sasha and his dad Nathan. It was surprising to discover how many British stamps, including many with the Queen’s image, were in their collection.
My first introduction to the fascination of the British people with the Royal Family came on our first day at work in England when we entered the dimly lit corridor of the University of Birmingham’s famed Electrical Engineering department. ‘’Isn’t our Queen beautiful?’’ was Mary’s warm greeting as she was polishing the already shiny floor. I learned fast that saying ‘’Yes’’ with a smile was my invitation to daily afternoon tea with homemade scones and crumpets.
Three years later, with my husband’s newly awarded PhD title, we were leaving England for a new job opportunity in the U. S. And now as the British people celebrate the monarch’s 90th birthday, I do agree with Mary that the Queen is certainly a beautiful Lady.
Facts and Trivia:
- The Queen has final approval on all Royal Mail stamp designs.
- The Diamond Jubilee Miniature Sheet, issued on February 6th, 2012, was the first time that official portraits of the Queen, sourced from stamps, coins and banknotes, have been brought together for a stamp issue. Since it first appeared, the image has been reproduced on more than 220 billion of Royal Mail’s stamps. A set of eight special stamps in honor of the Diamond Jubilee were unveiled on May 31st, 2012.
- What was the highest price ever paid for a stamp at an auction? ‘’I believe the most expensive stamp ever sold at the 2010 auction was The Treskilling Yellow, a Swedish stamp printed in 1855,’’ a spokesperson for the Royal Mail informed me. ‘’While the exact amount was never revealed, it was confirmed to have been more than $2.3 million.’’
- So kids, start collecting stamps! It is an enriching educational journey into the world of history, geography, and art, and with some luck, a nice deposit in your bank account.
- A person collecting stamps or studying stamps is called a philatelist, from the Greek philo- (love) and Greek ateleia, exemption from payment (because a postage stamp indicates prepayment of postage).
- While Queen Elizabeth II’s Royal Family Stamps collection is one of the largest and most valuable in the world, many other dignitaries and famous people enjoy collecting stamps as well. As reported by ‘’Around the Mall,’’ quite a few world leaders and celebrities collect stamps, including former French President Nicholas Sarkozy, whose collection includes stamps courtesy of Queen Elizabeth II and California’s former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Other collectors include King George V of England, whose collection now belongs to Queen Elizabeth II, Czar Nicholas III of Russia, Freddie Mercury of Queen, John Lennon of the Beatles and novelist Ayn Rand. President Franklin D. Roosevelt was also a stamp collector who, like Sarkozy, used his international connections to strengthen his collected set. According to the National Postal Museum, as a child, Franklin Delano Roosevelt looked to stamps for knowledge about the world. As a polio-stricken adult, they offered solace. Even during his presidency, he took time each day to work on his stamp collection.
- The Royal Philatelic Collection holds a varied collection of the British Commonwealth stamps. According to the British Monarchy’s official website, there is very little non-Great Britain and Commonwealth material in the Collection. However, one notable overseas treasure is a stamp album said to have belonged to Tsarevitch Alexei (murdered with his family in Russia in 1918). The album is said to have been stolen by a soldier and was sold to a worker for a British company in Russia, who brought it back to Great Britain when he fled the Bolsheviks in 1923. The album was later given to the Queen by her son, who wanted Her Majesty to have the album in the Collection.
- The Queen’s original portraits by famous artists, painters, and photographers Dorothy Wilding, Arnold Machin, and Pietro Annigoni, just to name a few, were reproduced on numerous royal stamps.
- The Wildings were a series of definitive postage stamps featuring the Dorothy Wilding photographic portrait of Queen Elizabeth II that were in use between 1952 and 1967. A photograph by Wilding, who had been working at the Royal Court since 1937, depicts the Queen wearing a diamond diadem made for George IV in the 1820, later worn also by Queen Victoria on stamps such as the Penny Black.
- The replacement of the Wildings was caused by stamp designers Michael Goaman and Faith Jacques, who expressed the difficulty of including the large Wilding portrait in their designs for commemorative stamps. The fact that the Queen was half turned to the viewer was not satisfactory as well, thus in 1967 the stamps were replaced by the Machin head with the sculptured profile of the Queen.
- The original portraits by Wilding and Machin are displayed at the British Postal Museum, while Annigoni’s original painting hangs in the Drawing Room at Fishmongers Hall on London Bridge in the city of London. ‘’Annigoni’s painting was commissioned by the Fishmonger Company in 1954,’’ said John Norton, a member of the Fishmonger Livery Company of the city of London and friend of the artist. ‘’It is a full-height portrait of the Queen in the Order of the Garter Robe with a rural background showing Windsor Castle and a small lake. The significance of the lake is that Annigoni always placed himself in his paintings and he is to be found in a small boat on the lake engaged in fishing.’’ Australia’s 50c stamp depicting this painting was issued in 2006.
- For 50 years Royal Mail’s Special Stamp program has commemorated and celebrated events and anniversaries pertinent to U.K. heritage and life. Today, there are an estimated 2.5 million stamp collectors and gift givers in the U.K. and millions worldwide.
- For those interested in the commemorative stamps, visit www.royalmail.com/hmq90.
- Lina Broydo immigrated from Russia, then the Soviet Union, to Israel where she was educated and got married. After working at the University in Birmingham, England she and her husband immigrated to the United States. She lives in Los Altos Hills, CA and writes about travel, art, style, entertainment, and sports. She hardly cooks or bakes, with no borsch or piroshky on her home cooking menu. Therefore, she makes reservations and enjoys dining out, mostly sushi.
- Article reproduced from the newspaper “Kstati” published on its edition of May 8, 2016.