31 May 2019
This year marks the bicentenary of the birth of royal power couple Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Six new stamps and an accompanying miniature sheet pay tribute to this era of royal history, when Victoria presided over a period of dramatic social, political and economic change.
Royal Mail had a wealth of visual material to call upon in this issue, celebrating the second longest reign in British royal history. The six special stamps feature richly detailed and colourful paintings that sum up Victoria’s life and reign, whilst the accompanying miniature sheet stamps pay tribute to Prince Albert, whose untimely death deprived Victoria and her children of a husband and father – and the world of a quick and incisive mind.
A life in stamps
The paintings follow Victoria from her childhood, through her grand wedding ceremony at St James’s Palace, on through her 64 years as a monarch and into the loneliness of her widowhood. We first see Victoria as an eleven-year-old girl with her terrier Fanny, pictured in 1930 (£1.60). At this stage, Victoria was aware that she would one day inherit the throne, but could not have realised that queenship was just seven years away. Next, we see Victoria with her husband Prince Albert, at their wedding ceremony on 10 February 1840 (£1.60). This is followed by a £1.35 value showing Victoria wearing her robes of state in 1859.
Next (£1.35) we move forward seventeen years to a painting of Victoria on horseback with her Highland servant and companion John Brown. By this stage Victoria was a widow, and John Brown coaxed her out of her self-imposed exile, back into everyday royal life. The final two values, both 1stclass, show Victoria with Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli at Osborne House in 1878, and a head and shoulders portrait of the Queen in 1890, at the age of 71.
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