Elizabeth: Queen & Icon

Elizabeth: Queen & Icon was compiled to celebrate the 80th birthday of Her Majesty The Queen in 2006.

From her childhood, and particularly as Queen, her face has been captured repeatedly on film and canvas. Many of these representations of The Queen have been the source of several stamps, and even more proposed stamp designs.

Definitive stamps are printed in their millions. They travel the world as miniature ambassadors for Britain. An image of our Head of State on a stamp creates a powerful national icon. Elizabeth: Queen & Icon takes a closer look at some of these philatelic portraits.

Image of Timeline


Key dates in the life of Queen Elizabeth II, as told through stamps (and a postmark).

Image of Princess Elizabeth

Princess Elizabeth

The Princess was the subject of several stamps from the Commonwealth.

Image of The Queen through the decades: 60th birthday stamps

The Queen through the decades: 60th birthday stamps

Stamps featuring portraits from throughout The Queen's life.

Image of The Queen through the decades: Golden Jubilee stamps

The Queen through the decades: Golden Jubilee stamps

Stamps featuring an image from each decade of The Queen's reign.

Image of The Dorothy Wilding portrait

The Dorothy Wilding portrait

All British definitive stamps bore Wilding's portrait of The Queen from 1952 until 1967.

Image of Postal stationery: the Cecil Thomas portrait

Postal stationery: the Cecil Thomas portrait

The creation of a design for embossed stamps on envelopes.

Image of Postal stationery: Letterpress designs

Postal stationery: Letterpress designs

The engraved design for postal stationery prepared by De La Rue.

Image of Off with her head!

Off with her head!

In the 1960s there was a revolution in British stamp design, led by Tony Benn and David Gentleman.

Image of Gillick head & Gentleman cameo

Gillick head & Gentleman cameo

David Gentleman sought a way of simplifying the effigy of The Queen for his new stamp designs.

Image of The Gentleman Album

The Gentleman Album

Throughout 1965 David Gentleman produced an album of non-traditional stamp designs.

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