World Stamps

New royal silhouette on Great Britain’s March 23 Flowers stamps

Mar 20, 2023, 11 AM
The 10 first-class Flowers stamps in Royal Mail’s March 23 issue are the first to feature the silhouette of King Charles III. This is the first change of a silhouette on Royal Mail’s stamps since 1968.

By David Hartwig

The first stamp designs from Great Britain’s Royal Mail to feature the silhouette of King Charles III appear on a March 23 set of 10 showcasing flowers.

This is the first change of a silhouette on Great Britain’s stamps since 1968, according to Royal Mail.

As reported in the Oct. 17, 2022, issue of Linn’s, Royal Mail announced Sept. 27 that it planned on exhausting existing stocks of stamps with the silhouette of Queen Elizabeth II before issuing stamps with the silhouette of the new king.

Royal Mail’s March 9 Flying Scotsman issue was the last to feature the silhouette of Queen Elizabeth II.

For the 10 first-class (currently 95 pence) Flowers stamps, the King Charles III silhouette appears along with the denomination in the upper left corner of each stamp. The silhouette replaces the country name on stamps of Great Britain.

In a March 14 press release, Royal Mail said illustrator Andrew Davidson; Ian Chilvers of the design agency Atelier Works; and Marcus James, head of design and editorial at Royal Mail, collaborated in the creation of the King Charles III silhouette.

Davidson first worked on a likeness of the king suitable for a stamp size. Then, Royal Mail and Atelier Works digitized and fine-tuned the detail of the silhouette prior to testing the adjustments at the actual size. Finally, the image was “adjusted to ensure a likeness to the new Definitive ‘everyday’ stamp,” Royal Mail said.

These first stamps bearing the silhouette of King Charles III are presented as two se-tenant (side-by-side) strips of five. A photograph of a different flower is shown against a white background on each stamp, with the common name of the flower variety in the lower left corner.

One se-tenant strip features the sweet pea, iris, lily, sunflower and fuchsia. A tulip, peony, nasturtium, rose and dahlia are on the other strip.

“Britain is a nation of gardeners, and a love of flowers runs deep in our collective consciousness.” David Gold, the director of external affairs and policy at Royal Mail, said. “His Majesty is known to be a passionate gardener and we are delighted that the first Special Stamps to feature his silhouette should be a celebration of some of the most popular flowers in British gardens.”

While Royal Mail said each of the stamps’ 10 flowers “are steeped in the familiarity of long association,” they arrived in the United Kingdom from locations around the world.

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