Late queen a fixture on stamps for 90 years

By Ian S. Robertson

She was only six when Newfoundland issued the world’s first stamp featuring a princess who, until her death Sept. 8, was the British Commonwealth’s longest-reigning monarch.

Born April 21, 1926 in an affluent west London area family home, Princess Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was the Duke and Duchess of York’s first of two children.

“As the child of a younger son of King George V, the young Elizabeth had little prospect of acceding to the throne,” the Encyclopædia Britannica notes.

But when King Edward VIII abdicated in late 1936, her father Prince Albert succeeded his brother.

King George VI made his 10-year-old, named after her mother, Queen Elizabeth – the Queen Mother – heir presumptive.

Newfoundland’s engraved stamp was based on a 1929 portrait by London photographer Marcus Adams.

Since its first Princess Elizabeth stamp, a one-cent 1935 commemorative, Canada has featured her on more than 90 definitives and commemoratives, in various formats.

Lastly, the Platinum Jubilee commemorative issued Feb. 7 for her 70th year as Canada’s queen was based on British sculptor Arnold Machin’s design on U.K. definitives since 1967.


Cared for by three nannies, young Princess Elizabeth – who signed letters “Lilibet” – was tutored in history, literature, music and languages. The family relocated to Buckingham Palace in 1936.

Three years later, the 13-year-old met her third cousin, 18-year-old Prince Philip (1921-2021).

They kept in touch throughout the 1939-45 Second World War, when the king and queen remained at Buckingham Palace, despite German bombers damaging it and devastating London.

Daughters Princess Elizabeth and Margaret Rose stayed several months at Balmoral Castle in Scotland – where the 96-year-old Queen of the U.K. and 14 Commonwealth countries, including Canada, departed this mortal coil Sept. 8.

After relocating to Windsor Castle in 1940, she began making radio broadcasts.

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1 Comment

  • cdn-booklets says:

    The cover is not actually depicted correctly. The actual cover has a black margin that is about 1/8 inch on each side and this has been cropped from the image shown. The black margins were done in days gone by to signify mourning. The cover was not made by a dealer, but by myself, a collector.

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