Australia Post celebrates Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II with the release of a new stamp issue when she becomes the longest-reigning British monarch on 9 September.
Australia Post Philatelic Manager Michael Zsolt says, "The new stamp release celebrates the Queen's reign through formal portraits taken by leading British society photographers".
"We are pleased to mark this historic milestone and to honour Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. We encourage stamp collectors and followers of royal and special events to put their orders in early to avoid disappointment," Mr Zsolt added.
Princess Elizabeth, at the age of 25, acceded to the throne on 6 February 1952, following the death of her father. The coronation of the new Queen took place more than a year later, on 2 June 1953, at which she was formally crowned Queen of the United Kingdom.
The Queen's great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, previously had the honour of being the longest-reigning British sovereign, serving for 63 years and 216 days, from 1837 to 1901.
Sonia Young of the Australia Post Design Studio designed the stamps, using portrait photographs of key milestone events of the Queen's reign. The stamps feature:
- Accession – The photograph in this stamp design is from the first official sitting of the new monarch, taking place on 26 February 1952. Photograph: Dorothy Wilding, Australia Post, National Philatelic Collection.
- Coronation – This portrait was photographed on 2 June 1953 on the royal family's return to Buckingham Palace after the coronation service in Westminster Abbey. Photograph: Cecil Beaton, Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
- Silver Jubilee – This portrait was photographed on 1 January 1975, in the period leading up to Her Majesty's silver jubilee in 1977. Photograph: Peter Grugeon, Camera Press London.
- Golden Jubilee – The photograph in this stamp design was taken on 1 February 2002, as part of the golden jubilee series. Photograph: John Swannell, Camera Press London.
- Diamond Jubilee – This portrait was created on 14 December 2011 to mark the diamond jubilee (2012) of the Queen's accession to the throne. Photograph: John Swannell, Camera Press London.
The stamp issue comprises three domestic base-rate (70c) and two international-rate ($2.75) stamps. The products associated with this stamp issue are a minisheet, first day cover, stamp pack, sheetlet of five x $2.75 self-adhesive stamps, prestige booklet, two postal and numismatic covers and a set of five maxicards.
The Long May She Reign stamp issue is available from 9 September 2015 at participating Post Offices, via mail order on 1800 331 794 and online at auspost.com.au/stamps while stocks last.