Royal Mail unveils Prime Ministers stamps to be issued Oct. 14

Great Britain will issue eight Prime Ministers stamps Oct. 14. Chronologically, they range from William Pitt the Younger, who took office in 1783, to Margaret Thatcher.

By Denise McCarty

Great Britain’s Royal Mail revealed the designs of its Prime Ministers stamps on Aug. 12. The stamps will be issued Oct. 14.

Eight of Britain’s 53 prime ministers will be honored on the stamps, ranging chronologically from William Pitt the Younger to Margaret Thatcher.

Britain’s youngest prime minister, Pitt was only 24 when he took office in 1783. He served until 1801 and then again from 1804 to 1806.

Britain’s first female prime minister and the longest serving prime minister of the modern era, Thatcher was elected three times, serving from 1979-90.

The other stamps honor Charles Grey (prime minister from 1830 to 1834), Robert Peel (1834-35 and 1841-46), William Ewart Gladstone (1868-74, 1880-85, 1886 and 1892-94), Winston Churchill (1940-45 and 1951-55), Clement Attlee (1945-51), and Harold Wilson (1964-70 and 1974-76).

Portraits of Pitt, Grey, Peel and Gladstone will be featured on 97-penny stamps paying the airmail rate to European countries.

The stamps for Attlee, Churchill, Wilson and Thatcher are nondenominated, paying the first-class rate (currently 62p).

Paul Lay, editor of History Today magazine, said: “This is an intriguing selection of Prime Ministers, reaching back to the 18th century. Some — Winston Churchill, William Gladstone — need little introduction. Yet figures such as Charles Grey, the 2nd Earl Grey, though little known today, played crucial roles in some of British history’s most important events, including the Great Reform Act of 1832, which set the country on the path to mass democracy, and the abolition of slavery. Margaret Thatcher and Harold Wilson were major figures in important times and, whatever one’s political views, deserve their place in the selection.”

This is the first set of stamps from Royal Mail dedicated to prime ministers.

Published 8/14/2014 4:35 PM