A set of six stamps and a miniature sheet to be issued on February 15 will feature one of Britain’s most recognisable historic landmarks, Windsor Castle.

Founded by William the Conqueror in around 1080, Windsor is the oldest and largest inhabited castle in the world. Originally it was simply part of a chain of fortifications established around London following the Norman Conquest, but King Henry I began to turn it into a royal palace as early as the early 12th century, and it remains an important royal residence today.

This year sees the 25th anniversary of the 1992 fire in which 115 rooms were destroyed or badly damaged, and the 25th anniversary of the completion of the rebuilding work.

Royal Mail’s photographic celebration of the building offers a mix of exterior and interior views, which are enjoyed by almost a million visitors each year.

The accompanying miniature sheet focuses on the interior of St George’s Chapel, a spectacular place of worship within in the grounds of the castle. Begun in 1475 by King Edward IV, it is the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter, Britain’s highest order of chivalry. The four stamps show interior details of the Chapel, with its Perpendicular Gothic architecture surmounted by star vaulting.

Designed by Up, the issue was printed in litho by International Security Printers, the counter sheet stamps available in two se-tenant strips of three.

One of the 1st class stamps is inscribed ‘Europa’, and is Britain’s first contribution to the annual Europa theme since 2014.

1st class THE LONG WALK

Laid out by King Charles II in 1685, the tree-lined Long Walk leads in a straight line south from the Castle to Windsor Great Park, a distance of three miles.

1st class THE ROUND TOWER

This stone keep atop the Castle’s motte was begun by King Henry I, rebuilt by King Henry II and augmented by King George IV. It now houses the Royal Archives.

1st class THE NORMAN GATE

With its arched gateway between two circular towers, this portal was created by King Edward III as the main entrance to his royal palace.

£1.52 ST GEORGE’S HALL

Resplendent with royal portraits and Order of the Garter heraldry, St George’s Hall was painstakingly restored following the 1992 fire and is used for state banquets.

£1.52 THE QUEEN’S BALLROOM

Built for King Charles II’s wife Catherine of Braganza, with glass chandeliers added by King George III, this opulent space is hung with portraits by Anthony van Dyck.

£1.52 THE WATERLOO CHAMBER

King George IV remodelled this room to commemorate the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815, and portraits by Sir Thomas Lawrence portray the allied commanders. The fine wood carving is older, dating from the reign of King Charles II.

 

MINIATURE SHEET

1st class SIR REGINALD BRAY ROOF BOSS

Roof boss in the nave of St George’s Chapel dedicated to the courtier of King Henry VII whose bequest helped to get building work completed in the early 16th century.

1st class FAN-VAULTED ROOF

The magnificent stone vaulting of the nave of St George’s Chapel was completed in 1528, during the reign of King Henry VIII.

£1.33 GARTER BANNERS

Banners in the quire of St George’s Chapel representing the members of the Order of the Garter, which was created by King Edward III in 1348.

£1.33 ST GEORGE’S CROSS ROOF BOSS

A roof boss in the quire of St George’s Chapel is a reminder that the building is dedicated to the patron siant of England.

 

OTHER PRODUCTS

The presentation pack has an overview of the story of Windsor Castle by the writer of its official history, John Martin Robinson.

The stamps also come in a prestige stamp book (see page 23), and a press sheet of 16 uncut miniature sheets is available in a limited edition of 669, representing the number of years since the founding of the Order of the Garter. First day cover options include a coin cover.

 

PRICES

Set of 6 stamps   £6.48

Miniature sheet   £3.94

Press sheet   £69.34

Presentation pack   £10.95

Stamp cards   £4.95

First day cover (stamps)   £8.20

First day cover (mini sheet)   £5.15

Medal cover   £15.50

 

 

VERDICT

COMMEMORATIVE WORTH   3/5

This is one of the nation’s most famous royal sites, although it is being celebrated on rather a weak anniversary

QUALITY OF DESIGN   2/5

The architecture is stunning enough, but the photographic approach lacks imagination

WOW FACTOR   3/5

Colourful images will do a good job of showing off Britain’s heritage if used on cover