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article imageMonarch’s head likely to remain on UK stamps after privatization

By Andrew John     Dec 19, 2010 in Politics
The head of the British monarch is likely to remain on postage stamps after Royal Mail is sold off to the private sector, even if it goes to a foreign company.
So says the Postal Affairs Minister in the Con–Dem coalition government, Ed Davey.
He says he’s “extremely confident” that the monarch’s head will remain on stamps, even though Royal Mail is not obliged to have it there. However, the state-owned organization always has featured it, ever since the world’s first postage stamp, the Penny Black, which shows the head of Queen Victoria.
Davey, says the BBC, said he was “confident a solution would be found and has said any buyer would have to be ‘mad’ to drop the monarch's image.”
Talks have been held with Buckingham Palace, said Davey.
“Mr Davey spoke to the Palace after learning that draft legislation, paving the way for a sell-off, would give the Queen a veto over any use of her image but would not insist her head be shown,” the story continues.
Uniform price
The Tory-led coalition will use the Postal Services Bill to sell off the much-cherished Royal Mail, which can be traced back to 1516, when Henry VIII established a “Master of the Posts”. Many want to keep the service in public hands.
Some fear the sell-off will see an end to the uniform price to send letters and packages, whether it’s going to the next street or from John o’ Groats to Land’s End.
This set price was adopted with the Uniform Fourpenny Post in 1839, but this system was short-lived. It was superseded by the Uniform Penny Post, which came into being only months later in January 1840, allowing this single rate for delivery anywhere in the British Isles to be prepaid by the sender. It was a few months later that the idea of sticking a stamp to the envelope to prove that prepayment had been made was established.
Thus was born the Penny Black, now very much a highly prized collector’s item. The UK was the first country to issue prepaid stamps, and British stamps continue to be the only ones that do not bear the name of the country of origin.
More about Postage stamps, Royal Mail, Queens head, Monarchs head, Queen elizabeth
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