LONDON – Even if Britain’s Royal Mail is sold to a foreign buyer, Her Royal Highness will still grace its stamp, the U.K. government said Sunday.
Sculptor Arnold Machin’s depiction of a youthful Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on billions of stamps since it was commissioned in 1967 and has become a classic of British design.
So there was disquiet when media reports suggested that plans to part-privatize the Royal Mail could mean that the queen’s head would disappear from Britain’s letters and parcels.
“Off with her head!” the Mail on Sunday tabloid screamed last month, warning that a loophole in the privatization legislation might allow foreign owners to drop the queen from the country’s mail.
But Business Minister Ed Davey told the tabloid newspaper that he would put forward an amendment to make it impossible for a buyer to remove the monarch’s image from stamps without royal assent.
Britain pioneered the postage stamp in the mid-19th century, and images of the reigning monarch have been a fixture of the British mail service since.