The first stamps featuring King Charles III go on sale today
UK stamps will feature the King’s image for the first time from today, but the Queen’s image will remain on our post for some time to come.
Charles’ image, adapted by the design of artist Martin Jennings for use on coins by the Royal Mint, will appear on all new stamps with presentation packs on sale.
But the new stamps will not be sold at post offices and other retailers until stocks featuring his mother’s image have been used up.
Royal Mail director of external affairs and policy David Gold said Charles has asked for existing stocks to be used, rather than destroyed.
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 to clear the stock there’s no rush… entirely in line with his well-stated principles of waste and environmentalism.”
The new stamp features Charles’ head and neck facing left, as all monarchs have done since Queen Victoria appeared on the Penny Black – the world’s first postage stamp – in 1840.
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 there’s an acknowledgement that, for 70 years, people have been so used to seeing the image of Her Majesty – even through the current image only started in 1967 – they didn’t want anything too different.”
The continuity sees the colours of the stamps remaining – plum purple for first class, holly green for second class, marine turquoise for large first class and dark pine green for large second class.
The new first class stamp forms part of an exhibition at London’s Postal Museum which runs until September 23.
The first stamps featuring Charles’ silhouette went on sale in March in the corner of a collection celebrating the nation’s favourite flowers.
His mother’s silhouette had featured on special edition stamps since 1966.
The final set using her image was unveiled in February on a set of stamps marking the 100th anniversary of steam locomotive the Flying Scotsman.
The change in images comes a day after a rise in stamp prices – first class increasing by 15p to £1.10 with second class rising by 7p to 75p.
Royal Mail said the rise was necessary to continue its one-price-goes-anywhere Universal Service.
Chief commercial officer Nick Landon said: “We appreciate that many businesses and households are facing a challenging economic environment and we are committed to keeping our prices affordable.
“Letters have declined by 25% compared to pre-pandemic.
“We have to carefully balance our pricing against a continued decline in letter volumes and the increasing costs of delivering letters six days a week to an ever-growing number of addresses across the country.”
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