The hidden date for this stamp can be found in the bottom-right corner.
“The King is dead. Long live The Queen.”
Royal successions are grounded in tragedy. At just 25, Princess Elizabeth lost her father, King George VI, and became Queen (of the Empire), the Head of State of the United Kingdom and all other Commonwealth realms, including Canada, all on a single day—-February 6, 1952.
Married fewer than five years to her husband, The Duke of Edinburgh, a navy man stationed in Malta, Elizabeth’s comfortable life as a naval wife and young mother of two small children changed immediately and irreversibly on that day. From St. James’s Palace in London came the proclamation that “the high and mighty Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary” would become Queen. Abruptly ending a tour in a remote part of Kenya, the Princess flew back to Britain as Queen and was greeted by Prime Minister Winston Churchill and other officials at the airport.
Her coronation on June 2, 1953 in Westminster Abbey, was conducted by Dr. Geoffrey Fisher, Archbishop of Canterbury. It inspired huge celebrations in Ottawa and throughout Canada. On the day following her coronation, she wasted no time getting down to business and met with all the ministers of the Commonwealth, including then Canadian Prime Minister Louis St-Laurent.
A regal philatelic legacy for six decades.
In the past 60 years, Queen Elizabeth II has made 22 state visits to Canada. Her image has been a constant in schools and other official buildings and she has graced Canada’s stamp since she took the Throne.
The ubiquity of The Queen’s image in the past six decades of Canadian postage was firmly on the minds of Stamp Services staff and designers as plans on how to celebrate this milestone began to form.
According to stamp design manager for the multiple Queen Elizabeth II issues, Liz Wong “There was a need to celebrate the 60 year mark and pay homage to the many years in which The Queen has appeared on our postage. No monarch since Queen Victoria has achieved the diamond milestone. Collectors still speak glowingly of the stamp issued for that event, so we were well aware that there were expectations that we do something significant and memorable. It’s one of those occasions when we needed to both celebrate and make history.”
In all, during the first six months of 2012, Canada Post will release a total of two stamp issues and five collectible mini-panes. Each mini-pane features a different stamp-on-stamp design using some of the most popular Queen Elizabeth II stamps.
On January 16, the official Diamond Jubilee Permanent™ stamp will be issued, in booklets of ten stamps, along with an official first day cover. This domestic-rate stamp features a cameo of a photograph of Her Majesty in her royal robes and tiara, waving from the window of a carriage.
Collectibles to be released
On the same day, the first of six Diamond Jubilee mini-panes of four stamps will be issued as part of a keepsake folder. Two other keepsake folders, one depicting the years 1963-1972 and the other, 1973-1982, will be released on February 6 and March 6 respectively.
Each of keepsake folders—six in total, one for each ten-year period in The Queen’s reign—houses a mini-pane of four stamps, an informative booklet pertaining to that period, plus a postcard featuring all the stamps bearing Queen Elizabeth II’s image issued during each respective ten-year timeframe.
According to Liz Wong, “In order to illustrate our relationship with Queen Elizabeth II, as recorded through our postal history, we chose one representative stamp from each of the ten-year periods of The Queen’s reign and used it as the basis of the design for each of these five commemoratives.”
The selvedge of the mini-panes visually highlights important events during the period of time depicted by the stamp, including Royal Visits and other events in Canadian history.
In addition to the stamps and keepsake folders, there will be a total of seven Official First Day Covers: five to showcase the stamp-on-stamp designs of the mini-pane issues, plus one for the Diamond Jubilee commemorative and one for an intaglio commemorative to be issued later in the year. The intaglio stamp, which will be featured in our next issue of Details, depicts both early and current portraits of The Queen, with a design that echoes a similar stamp created to honour Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1897. The Victoria stamp is much beloved and for several years, there have been requests that Canada Post issue a similar stamp for this milestone.
All Diamond Jubilee issues were designed by Gottschalk + Ash International and developed, as are all stamp materials bearing an image of The Queen, with the cooperation of both Rideau Hall, in Canada and Buckingham Palace.
Jim Philips, Director of Stamp Services at Canada Post adds, “Images of Royalty have been a constant in the Canadian stamp program since its beginning. There are generations of Canadians for whom Queen Elizabeth II has been the only Monarch depicted on our stamps. We hope that everyone is thrilled with both the Diamond Jubilee commemorative and the intaglio stamp, inspired by that famous Canadian stamp issued for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. We also hope that the keepsake folders will encourage a sense of nostalgia, looking back over past decades of postage and remind us of the way in which The Queen has been a part of our daily lives for the past 60 years.