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
Max power: Nine ways to make your everyday meals more flavourful
Amputee drummer gains 'superhuman' skills with robotic arm
Livr: A social network only for drunk people
Fenwicks department store withdraws Boy London clothing over 'Nazi' eagle logo complaints
International Women's Day 2014: Google makes 80 second video of inspirational women from across the world for animated Doodle
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
White people become less racist just by moving to more diverse areas, study finds
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
- 1 To those who can’t see the point of International Women’s Day: you are the very reason it exists
- 2 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 3 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 4 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because late wife Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...