By Elspeth Lodge
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.
Elspeth Lodge, National Post · Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011
A group celebrating the country’s loyalty to the British Crown is asking for a stamp honouring the upcoming wedding of Prince William to Kate Middelton, but Canada Post said it has no plans to commemorate the royal nuptials.
“It would be a nice gesture towards Canada’s future king and queen. It would also be a best-seller, no doubt,” said Robert Finch, Dominion chairman of the 10,000-member Monarchist League of Canada.
Canada Post requires two years’ notice to issue a stamp and its 2011 stamp program was finalized last March, said Jim Phillips, director of stamp services at Canada Post.
“Physically, I don’t even think we’d be able to do it,” he said about issuing a William and Kate stamp in time for the April 29 wedding.
Canada Post receives as many as 600 stamp ideas from the public each year, Mr. Phillips said, but this is the first time he has heard a request to commemorate the royal wedding. There have, however, been about 15 requests to recognize Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, a stamp that is in the works.
Most new stamps need to be about something Canadian, Mr. Phillips said, although Canada has produced stamps to honour the monarchy as Canada’s head of state since the reign of Queen Victoria.
Mr. Phillips said he hasn’t even heard an announcement from The Royal Mail, the British postal service, about a royal wedding stamp. But if the United Kingdom issues a commemorative stamp, Canada Post will try to make some available for Canadian customers since they would likely be collectors’ items.
Mr. Finch said Canada Post has been good about producing new stamps honouring Queen Elizabeth over the past few years. “It used to be that we monarchists would have to mount campaigns to have a Queen stamp produced. That’s not the case today. So, we’re happy in that sense,” he said.
Nathan Tidridge, author of the upcoming book Constitutional Monarchy, was disappointed by the postal service’s decision not to honour the upcoming royal wedding given the importance of the monarchy in Canada.
“I believe it stems from a lack of education,” he said of the Canada Post decision. “When we create a stamp we’re not doing it to celebrate the British monarchy, we’re doing it to celebrate the Canadian monarchy.”