World Stamps

British stamps celebrate May 6 coronation of King Charles III and his public service

Apr 27, 2023, 7 PM
On April 28, Great Britain’s Royal Mail revealed the design of a souvenir sheet marking the coronation of King Charles III. The sheet is being issued May 6, the date of the coronation.

By Denise McCarty

Great Britain’s Royal Mail unveiled on April 28 the design of its souvenir sheet commemorating the May 6 coronation of King Charles and Queen Camilla at Westminster Abbey in London.

The souvenir sheet, called His Majesty King Charles III: A New Reign, will be issued May 6.

The sheet contains four se-tenant (side-by-side) stamps. One illustrates a coronation ceremony, and the designs of the other three reflect “some of the causes His Majesty has dedicated his years of public service to: cultural diversity and community; the global ties of the Commonwealth, which he now leads; and sustainability and biodiversity,” according to Royal Mail.

The detailed stamp designs are based on newly commissioned wood engravings by British artist and stamp designer Andrew Davidson.

The theme of the stamp is inscribed in the lower left of each design. For example, “Coronation” is written on the first of the two nondenominated stamps for the first-class rate (currently £1.10).

The main scene on this stamp shows the Archbishop of Canterbury lowering St. Edward’s crown onto the king’s head. In its description of the design, Royal Mail adds that the king is sitting in the coronation chair and holding the scepter with dove and the scepter with cross.

Shown behind this scene is the exterior of Westminster Abbey with fireworks above it.

The Coronation stamp also depicts a gun salute fired by a member of the King’s Troop on the left part of the design, and two images of crowds watching the ceremony and celebrating on the right.

The other first-class stamp represents “diversity and community,” according to the inscription. Royal Mail said this design reflects “a multi-faith community and the cultural diversity of contemporary British society.”

More specifically, according to Royal Mail, “The stamp features figures representing the Jewish, Islamic, Christian, Sikh, Hindu and Buddhist religions and is representative of all faiths and none.”

Royal Mail added, “The background shows aspects of both rural and urban Britain and includes some of the many different places of worship that are found around the United Kingdom.”

The other two stamps are each denominated £2.20 to pay the rate for standard letters weighing up to 100 grams sent worldwide. One is inscribed “The Commonwealth,” and the other “Sustainability and Biodiversity.”

The Commonwealth stamp depicts “an outward-looking United Kingdom, global trade, cooperation, democracy and peace,” Royal Mail said.

Shown in the forefront of the design is a scene of an imagined Commonwealth meeting, with a view of a Commonwealth war graves cemetery behind it. A scene representing the Commonwealth Games and showing flags of Commonwealth nations is in the lower right of the design.

Ships, a semi-trailer truck on a bridge, construction and what appear to be rain clouds also are shown on the stamp.

The design of the Sustainability and Biodiversity stamp highlights “the importance of conservation, biodiversity and a society that works with nature,” according to Royal Mail.

Of all the scenes on this stamp, the most prominent one illustrates the traditional crafts of hedge-laying and beekeeping. A man fishing under a bridge is shown behind the beekeeper, and a farmer on a tractor on the right.

Wildflower meadows, forests, bees, butterflies, cows and rain are pictured on the stamp, and man-made items include a hydroelectric power station and buildings with solar panels.

Each stamp design also shows the silhouette of King Charles in the upper right and either “1st” or “£2.20” in the upper left.

Like the stamps, the selvage of the souvenir sheet features a new wood engraving by Davidson.

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