Britain parries threat to Queen's head on stamps
Tuesday 11 January 2011
The British government said Sunday it had closed a loophole that could have seen Queen Elizabeth II's head chopped off stamps if the Royal Mail national postal service was sold to a foreign firm.
Ministers have squared the plans with Buckingham Palace and the sovereign's head will be kept on stamps in the future, Postal Services Minister Ed Davey said.
"After listening to views of members of both houses of parliament and the palace, we have agreed this additional safeguard," he told The Mail on Sunday newspaper.
Business Secretary Vince Cable is to unveil the amendments on Monday, the tabloid said.
The previous draft legislation paving the way for Royal Mail to be privatised did not explicitly spell out that the queen's head should remain on the iconic stamps.
The bill gave Queen Elizabeth a veto over any use of her image but did not insist that, as per tradition, her head was shown.
Royal Mail chief executive Moya Greene said: "It's unthinkable Royal Mail stamps would not have the image of the monarch so we strongly support any measure that protects that key feature."
The monarch's head, facing left, has appeared on British adhesive postage stamps since their invention with the 1840 "Penny Black", featuring queen Victoria.
In a bid to secure its future as Britons increasingly use email instead of sending letters, the cash-strapped government wants to sell off Royal Mail to give it an injection of private sector capital.
German and Dutch firms are thought to be among the front-runners to buy the service, The Mail on Sunday reported.
The British stamps are the only ones in the world that do not carry the country's name - just the portrait of the sovereign.
The current standard stamps, drawn up in 1967 by Alan Machin, are considered a design classic and a defining icon of Britain recognised around the world.
Life & Style blogs
Bombsheller: The website that makes us all into top fashion designers
Husband creates spreadsheet detailing wife's 'excuses' for turning down sex
The 10 Best Scotch Whiskies
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
The 10 Best kitchen knives
Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
- 1 Secret Cinema: Why were Back to the Future screenings cancelled?
- 2 Christians: The world's most persecuted people
- 3 Israel-Gaza conflict: The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 4 Thatcher ‘was warned of Tory child sex party claims’
- 5 The Simpsons Family Guy trailer: First look at crossover episode after Comic-Con debut
£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits package: Clearwater People Solu...
£21000 - £23000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Copywriter - London As a Copywrite...
£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: As a result of our successf...
£15 - £18 per hour: Randstad Education Nottingham: Randstad Education are succ...