Elspeth Lodge, National Post, With Files From Sarah Boesveld · Saturday, Feb. 5, 2011
In an about-face from its initial plan to let Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding pass it by, Canada Post said Friday it will issue a stamp to celebrate the union, a move royal watchers are calling a victory.
Public outcry and a strong lobby from a core group of collectors and monarchists followed reports that Canada Post had no plans to commemorate the biggest royal wedding since Prince Charles and Diana wed in 1981.
The Crown corporation could not ignore the demands it was hearing, said Jim Phillips, director of stamp services at Canada Post.
“It made us take a look and say, ‘Wow, this is something that people want,’” he said. “We got the whole retail team on board … and designed two different versions of the stamp right away.”
In early January, Canada Post explained that it requires two years to plan, create and eventually issue a stamp, and that the royal engagement, announced last November, is too close to the April 29 wedding date for anything to be done. Canada Post also has a mandate to produce stamps that are distinctly Canadian and, while related through the country’s monarchist ties, the royal wedding isn’t exactly Canadian.
“Physically, I don’t even think we’d be able to do it,” Mr. Phillips said in an earlier interview.
Instead, Canada Post sped up the design process, which took only 10 days, and had two versions of the stamp approved by Canada Post’s board of directors on Feb. 3. The designs are in London, England, awaiting final approval from the royal family’s staff at Clarence House, one of the monarchy’s official residences. That process is expected to take a number of weeks.
“Our stamps are a reflection of who we are as a nation,” said Mary Traversy, senior vice-president of transaction mail, at Canada Post. “The Royal Wedding is one of those rare occasions that will touch us all and we are pleased that we will be able to offer our customers a memento of this event.”
The Monarchist League of Canada, one of the groups that has lobbied for production of a commemorative stamp, said it is thrilled by Canada Post’s change of heart.
“This is wonderful news,” said Robert Finch, the league’s dominion chairman.
“I think it goes to show that Canadians are very interested in the upcoming royal wedding … Not only is it a good opportunity to celebrate the rarity that is a royal wedding, it also makes good business sense,” Mr. Finch said.
Canadians will be able to find the stamps in post offices across the country on May 2, days after the highly anticipated nuptials take place in Westminster Abbey.