By Molly Goad
Seven decades of marriage calls for a celebration, no doubt about it. And when you’re the royal couple, the post office gets in on the action.
On Nov. 20, Royal Mail (the British Post Office) issued a souvenir sheet to commemorate Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip’s 70th wedding anniversary.
The Royal Wedding: Platinum Anniversary sheet designed by Mytton Williams contains three nondenominated first-class stamps and three £1.57 stamps featuring black-and-white photographs from the royal couple’s engagement, wedding and honeymoon.
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The engagement of Princess Elizabeth and Lt. Philip Mountbatten was announced July 9, 1947. Their nuptials took place Nov. 20, 1947, at Westminster Abbey in London. They honeymooned at Broadlands in Hampshire, home of Philip’s uncle, and at Birkhall on the Balmoral estate.
The six stamps in the souvenir sheet are arranged in three se-tenant (side-by-side) pairs, with each pair including a first-class stamp and a £1.57 stamp. The current first-class rate is 65 pence. The £1.57 stamps pay the rate for letters to Europe weighing up to 100 grams.
The first se-tenant pair shows engagement photographs. The second pair depicts scenes from their wedding. The first-class stamp in the third pair shows the couple looking at photographs of their wedding during their honeymoon, and the £1.57 stamp shows the couple in their first public appearance after the wedding.
A photograph of a detail of Elizabeth’s wedding dress designed by Norman Hartnell is featured in the selvage of the souvenir sheet. The dress was made of ivory silk, decorated with crystals and 10,000 seed pearls and had a 15-foot train.
International Security Printers produced the souvenir sheet by lithography. The sheet measures 190 millimeters by 67mm, and the stamps are 27mm by 37mm. They are perforated gauge 14 by 14.
In addition to the souvenir sheet, Royal Mail is offering a presentation pack, first-day covers (available with either Edinburgh or London postmarks), seven postcards reproducing the designs of the six stamps and the souvenir sheet, a limited-edition souvenir pack, framed pieces, and a limited-edition press sheet.
The FDCs display a photograph of the newlyweds enjoying a walk during their honeymoon at Broadlands.
The information card that accompanies the first-day covers was designed by Williams and written by royal correspondent Robert Hardman. The presentation pack also was designed by Williams and written by Hardman.
A total of 500 press sheets were produced. Measuring 450mm by 580mm, each press sheet includes 14 souvenir sheets.
To order the Royal Wedding: Platinum Anniversary souvenir sheet and related products, visit Royal Mail’s shop on the internet.
Ordering information also is available from Royal Mail, Tallents House, 21 S. Gyle Crescent, Edinburgh, EH12 9PB, Scotland.
Royal Mail’s two agencies in the United States are Interpost, Box 420, Hewlett, NY 11557; and the British Stamp Service in North America, 1 Unicover Center, Cheyenne, WY 82008.