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Stamps feature 60th Anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II & HRH Prince Philip

Published 12th September 2007, 1:45pm

The Diamond Wedding Anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Philip will be the latest stamp release for the Cayman Islands Postal Service.

Although the royal wedding took place on 20 November 1947, the stamp issue will be released this Wednesday, 12 September. The issue features four stamp denominations and a souvenir sheet. The 50c shows Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten attending a function after they were married. The 75c pictures a very happy Princess Elizabeth on her wedding day. The 80c is a family engagement photograph with (from left to right) Princess Elizabeth, Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, RN, HM Queen Elizabeth, HM King George IV and Princess Margaret. The $1 shows the Princess and Prince proceeding up the aisle at Westminster Abbey after the marriage ceremony. The souvenir sheet is a motif of an engagement photograph and ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

On 22 July 1939 Princess Elizabeth met the man who was to become her husband eight years later, at the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth. Not even World War Two could interrupt the romance between the couple. Elizabeth's parents did, however, express some concern that their daughter needed more time to meet other potential and eligible suitors. However, their love for each other prevailed, and in July 1947 the formal engagement was announced. A notice was pinned to the railing of Buckingham Palace: "It is with the greatest of pleasure that the King and Queen announce the betrothal of their dearly beloved daughter the Princess Elizabeth, to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten, RN, son of the late Prince Andrew of Greece and Princess Andrew (Alice of Battenberg), to which the King has gladly given his consent." The wedding took place in Westminster Abbey on 20 November 1947, the day after King George VI gave Philip the title of Duke of Edinburgh.

Norman Hartnell designed the ivory satin wedding gown. There were some hitches, though. Supplies of fabric and trimmings were limited in the postwar period, and the government gave Princess Elizabeth 200 extra clothing coupons as a wedding gift. All women in Britain who were about to marry at that time were given the same gift. Women across Britain sent in their own coupons to the Princess, but it was illegal to give away clothing coupons, even to a future monarch, and they were returned to their owners with a note of thanks. The band holding the Princess's tiara broke just before it was to be secured to her veil, and the wedding bouquet was briefly misplaced. The tiara was mended, and the flowers were located in the fridge, where they had been placed to keep the blooms fresh.

After the wedding, the couple moved into Clarence House in London and the Duke of Edinburgh returned to his naval career. He rose through the ranks to Lieutenant Commander and commanded HMS Magpie.

The death of King George VI and the accession of Princess Elizabeth to the throne ended Prince Philip's naval career. His support of the Queen during their 60 years of marriage has been unstinting.

Philatelic Manager Karen McField said she knows that the collectors will be pleased with the issue. "Stamps with a royal theme are very popular among our collectors, and a 60-year anniversary is unprecedented. We hope that the public will like the issue."

The royal theme stamps will go on sale at all Post Offices on Wednesday, 12 September. Contact the Philatelic Bureau at 946-4757 if more information is required.

The souvenir sheet

The souvenir sheet is a motif of the engagement photograph and ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The souvenir sheet is a motif of the engagement photograph and ceremony at Westminster Abbey.

The 75c stamp

The 75c stamp pictures a very happy Princess Elizabeth on her wedding day.

The 75c stamp pictures a very happy Princess Elizabeth on her wedding day.