The Kings & Queens series of stamp issues which started in 2008 concludes with the House of Windsor & Saxe-Coburg-Gotha set on February 2, bringing the story of the British monarchy up the present day.

The five most recent monarchs are illustrated through contemporary portrait paintings, as in previous sets, with Queen Elizabeth II taking pride of place on the top value in her Diamond Jubilee year.

Following the style of the earlier issue in this series, a miniature sheet of four stamps highlights landmark events that have taken place during the dynasty.

The stamps were designed by Atelier Works and printed in lithography by Cartor.

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH      
A gallery of royal portraits is now complete from the 15th century onwards

QUALITY OF DESIGN       
The stamps and miniature sheet follow a style well established by earlier sets

WOW FACTOR       
There are no surprises here, except perhaps the incongruous football stamp

 

1st class Edward VII (1901-1910)
The reign of the first and only British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha heralded significant developments in technology and society, and the Edwardian era came to be looked upon as a golden age. The King fostered good relations with France, but always suspected that his nephew, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany, might precipitate a war. His portrait was painted by Sir Luke Fildes in 1902.

68p George V (1910-1936)
The only Emperor of India to be present in person at the Delhi Durbar, his coronation ceremony in the subcontinent, George renamed the dynasty the House of Windsor in 1917 to distance it from its Germanic routes during the carnage of World War I. With the overthrow of his cousins, the Kaiser and the Tsar, by 1918 his was the last of the most powerful royal families left standing in Europe. He too was portrayed by Fildes, in about 1911.

76p Edward VIII (1936)
Only months into his reign, George V’s eldest son caused a constitutional crisis by proposing marriage to the divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson. This would conflict with his status as head of the Church of England, which opposed remarriage where former spouses were still alive, so Edward abdicated after one of the shortest reigns in British history and went to live in exile as the Duke of Windsor. His painting is by Reginald Grenville Eves.

£1.00 George VI (1936-1952)
As the second son of George V, George had not been expected to inherit the throne. He was beset by health problems, and within three years of his accession Britain and its Empire were at war with Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. The King and his family came through the trauma with their popularity enhanced, although the Empire was fatally weakened and began to break apart. His portrait was painted by Denis Fildes, the son of Sir Luke.

£1.10 Elizabeth II (1952 to date)
Elizabeth II is the constitutional monarch of the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, St Lucia, St Vincent & The Grenadines, Antigua & Barbuda, St Kitts & Nevis, Belize, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu, and Head of the Commonwealth of 54 member nations. Her coronation in 1953 was the first to be televised.

She is now the second-longest reigning monarch in British history, and at the age of 85 continues to carry out hundreds of official duties every year. The portrait by Pietro Annigoni was commissioned by the Fishmongers’ Company.

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class Scott Expedition
Captain Robert Falcon Scott of the Royal Navy led a British team the South Pole in January 1912, only to find that they had been beaten there by a Norwegian team. On their way back, all five men died of exhaustion, malnutrition and frostbite. This stamp marks the centenary of the expedition.

68p Second World War
The royal family helped to maintain domestic morale in wartime, especially during the Battle of Britain and the Blitz in 1940-41, and this stamp shows Queen Elizabeth touring bomb-damaged London. When Buckingham Palace, too, was hit by the Luftwaffe, she remarked that now ‘she could look the East End in the face’.

76p Football Champions
In 1966, in front of 93,000 spectators, the England football team won the World Cup by beating West Germany 4-2 at Wembley Stadium, thanks to a hat-trick by Geoff Hurst, including two goals in extra time.

It remains the only time that one of the home nations has won an international football tournament.

£1.00 Channel Tunnel
One of the outstanding engineering achievements of the 20th century, the undersea rail link with France was officially opened on May 6, 1994. The Queen and President François Mitterrand attended inauguration ceremonies in both countries, travelling between them on Eurostar and Shuttle trains.

OTHER PRODUCTS
The presentation pack, written by historian Andrew Roberts, considers the advances made in science, technology, medicine and communications during the age of the Windsors.

Stamp cards, a press sheet of uncut miniature sheets, a first day cover and a cachet cover franked at Buckingham Palace are also available.

PRICES

Set of 5 stamps £4.00
Miniature sheet £2.90
Press sheet £66.99
Presentation pack £7.40
Stamp cards £4.50
First day envelope £0.30
First day cover (stamps) £5.28
First day cover (mini sheet) £3.96
Cachet cover £9.99
TOTAL £105.32