Royal Mail will release a set of six stamps and a special four-stamp miniature sheet on April 21 to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s oldest reigning monarch.

The stamps from counter sheets, which come in se-tenant strips of three, comprise three black and white images focusing on her family life, and three colour images honouring her official work on behalf the country over the decades.

Designed by Kate Stephens, the set was printed in litho by International Security Printers.

The miniature sheet is based on specially commissioned family portrait photographed for Royal Mail by Ranald Mackechnie. Taken in the summer of 2015 in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, it features the Queen with her three immediate heirs, thereby encompassing four generations of the House of Windsor.

Besides echoing the miniature sheet issued to mark the 100th Birthday of the Queen Mother in 2000, it is the first appearance of Prince George of Cambridge on a Royal Mail stamp.

1st class WITH KING GEORGE VI, c1930

The Queen has never before been depicted with her father on a British stamp, and this is remedied by way of a photograph taken when she was about four years old.

1st class STATE OPENING OF PARLIAMENT, 2012

The monarch is portrayed as Head of State, wearing the Imperial State Crown at the State Opening of Parliament.

1st class WITH PRINCESS ANNE AND PRINCE CHARLES, 1952

The Queen’s role as a mother is conveyed by a photograph of her sitting in the garden with a young Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

£1.52 VISITING NEW ZEALAND, 1977

Representing more than 100 state visits made worldwide by the Queen since her accession is a photograph taken during a visit to New Zealand in her Silver Jubilee year.

£1.52 WITH THE DUKE OF EDINBURGH, 1957

The Queen’s long partnership with Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, is noted by a photograph taken about 10 years into their marriage.

£1.52 WITH NELSON MANDELA, 1996

In her role as Head of the Commonwealth, the monarch is depicted riding through London in a carriage with Nelson Mandela, the President of South Africa.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class THE PRINCE OF WALES

Prince Charles, the Queen’s eldest child and heir to the throne

1st class THE QUEEN

Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-reigning monarch, having acceded to the throne in 1952

1st class PRINCE GEORGE OF CAMBRIDGE

Prince George, Prince William’s eldest child and third in line to the throne

1st class THE DUKE OF CAMBRIDGE

Prince William, Prince Charles’ eldest child and second in line to the throne

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

Written by royal correspondent Robert Hardman, the presentation pack features a summary of the Queen’s public and private life, with reference to her many interests and passions, and the pack concludes with The Crown, a poem by the Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy.

The miniature sheet is also available in an uncut press sheet of 15. Stamp cards are offered as usual, and a choice of coin covers as well as standard first day covers.

 

PRICES

Set of 6 stamps   £6.48

Miniature sheet   £2.56

Presentation pack   £9.55

Press sheet   £42.24

Stamp cards   £4.95

First day cover (stamps)   £8.20

First day cover (mini sheet)   £3.49

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   4/5

Major royal anniversaries are quite rightly bread-and-butter issues for Royal Mail

QUALITY OF DESIGN   3/5

Careful thought has gone into choosing the range of photographs, and into commissioning a new one

WOW FACTOR   1/5

With landmark birthdays swiftly following jubilee years, royalty fatigue can set in