US Stamps

‘Life’ magazine’s invitation to the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II

Apr 25, 2023, 8 AM

U.S. Stamp Notes by John M. Hotchner

On Feb. 6, 1952, George VI, age 56, passed into history and his eldest daughter, Elizabeth, age 25, became Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. The coronation followed on June 2, 1953, after a prolonged period of detailed planning for the traditional formal ceremony.

In the interim, postage stamps, currency and coins had all been issued with the likeness of the new queen, and the media machine had planned its coverage for the coronation down to the finest detail.

Thanks to Mark Goodson of Ellettsville, Ind., we have Life magazine’s effort to take advantage of the royal mania: an invitation sent to potential subscribers so that the excited public would not miss a moment of the proceedings.

The invitation went through the United States mail, but it originated in London and came here onboard the SS Queen Mary as evidenced by the “Per S.S. Queen Merry” marking on the cover in Figure 1.

The cover is franked with a 1½-penny green Queen Elizabeth II stamp (Scott 294) and canceled Jan. 9, 1953.

Figure 2 shows the invitation that was inside the cover.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to Linn’s Stamp News.

Connect with Linn’s Stamp News: 

    Sign up for our newsletter
    Like us on Facebook
    Follow us on Twitter