British stamps will feature the King’s image for the first time from today, but the Queen’s image will remain in our mail for some time.
The image of Charles, adapted from a design by artist Martin Jennings for use on Royal Mint coins, will appear on all new presentation pack stamps for sale.
However, the new stamps will not be sold at post offices and other retailers until stocks bearing his mother’s image have been exhausted.
David Gold, director of foreign affairs and policy at Royal Mail, said Charles had asked that existing stock be used and not destroyed.
Mr Gold said: “The King gave very clear instructions, he didn’t want anything to be shredded, he didn’t want things to be shredded, he didn’t want stock to be thrown away.
“He was very clear no matter how long it takes to clear inventory, there is no rush… entirely consistent with his well articulated principles of waste and environmental protection.”
The new stamp shows Charles’ head and neck to the left, as all monarchs have done since Queen Victoria appeared on the Penny Black – the world’s first postage stamp – in 1840.
Mr Gold said: “The guidance we received from His Majesty was more about continuity and not doing anything too different than before.
“I think there’s a recognition that people have been so accustomed to seeing Her Majesty’s picture for 70 years – even if the current picture only started in 1967 – that they didn’t want anything too different.”
Continuity sees the colors of the stamps – plum purple for First Class, holly green for Second Class, navy turquoise for Grand First Class and dark pine green for Grand Second Class.
The new first class stamp is part of an exhibition at London’s Postal Museum which runs until September 23.
The first stamps featuring Charles’ silhouette were sold in March in a corner of a collection celebrating the nation’s most beloved flowers.
His mother’s silhouette had appeared on special issue stamps since 1966.
The last set featuring her image was unveiled in February on a stamp set commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Flying Scotsman steam locomotive.
The change in images comes a day after an increase in stamp prices – first class up 15p to £1.10, second class up 7p to 75p.
Royal Mail said the surge was necessary to continue its one-price-goes-anywhere universal service.
Chief Commercial Officer Nick Landon said: “We recognize that many businesses and homes are facing a challenging economic environment and we are committed to keeping our prices affordable.
“Letters are down 25% compared to before the pandemic.
“We must carefully balance our prices against a continued decline in letter volumes and the rising cost of delivering letters six days a week to an ever-increasing number of addresses across the country.”