Literature is the stand-out theme in Royal Mail’s 2016 programme of special stamp issues, announced in November.

There will be sets celebrating William Shakespeare, on his 400th death anniversary, Beatrix Potter, on her 150th birth anniversary, and Agatha Christie, on no very obvious anniversary.

Historical landmarks to be commemorated are Royal Mail’s own 500th anniversary (based on the establishment of its antecedant, The King’s Posts, in 1516), the 350th anniversary of the Great Fire of London, and the Queen’s 90th birthday.

Part three of the ongoing First World War series will focus on 1916, and another issue will recall the heroic failure of Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–17, colloquially known as the Endurance Expedition.

It has already been made clear that Sir Nicholas Winton will be among the British Humanitarians honoured in March, while the Landscape Gardens set in August is clearly timed to coincide with the 300th birth anniversary of Capability Brown. No details have been announced of the Music Giants or Animail issues, or of the untitled October set.

Three scheduled commemorative sheets will mark significant anniversaries of the Duke of Edinburgh Awards, the Australian & New Zealand Army Corps and the Battle of Hastings.


Jan 7 - Shackleton & The Endurance Expedition
Feb 17 - Royal Mail’s 500th Anniversary
Mar 15 - British Humanitarians
Apr 5  - William Shakespeare
Apr 21 - The Queen’s 90th Birthday
May 17 - Animail
Jun 21 - First World War: 1916
Jul 7 - Music Giants
Jul 28 - Beatrix Potter
Aug 16 - Landscape Gardens
Sep 2 - Great Fire of London
Sep 15 - Agatha Christie
Oct 20 - (to be announced)
Nov 8 - Christmas

Jan 28 - Duke of Edinburgh Awards
Apr 25 - ANZAC
Oct 14 - Battle of Hastings

Feb 17 - Royal Mail Heritage Transport
Sep 14 - Ladybirds
Nov 14 - Christmas