Queen's head saved from the chop

The presence of the Queen's head on postage stamps is to be guaranteed by law after the Government struck a deal with Buckingham Palace.

Amendments will be put forward by ministers this week to close a loophole that would have allowed a foreign buyer of the Royal Mail to remove the monarch's image. German and Dutch operators are expected to lead bidders in the sell-off. Legislation ahead of the sale gives the Queen a veto over any use of her image on stamps.

The palace has struck a separate, rather more significant, deal with the Government granting the Royal Family absolute protection from public scrutiny, as revealed in The Independent on Saturday. The deal will throw a veil of secrecy over the affairs of the Queen and the princes Charles and William, reversing advances that had briefly shone a light on the public's funding of the royals.

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