Stamps and the Queen’s head
The Mail on Sunday carries a story today which discloses that the Government have omitted to ensure that the sell-off or Royal Mail is made on condition that whichever company wins the bidding war to run the
If you ignore the usual Mail hysteria of ‘anger’ and ‘frantic talks’ at Buckingham Palace, and the puerile speculation of delaying the sell-off until after the Diamond Jubilee to ensure that Her Majesty’s head features prominently (why would anyone not feature the Queen on stamps designed to commemorate her own jubilee?), the only substance to this story is that the Government have left a ‘loophole’ in the legislation which permits any new company to remove the Queen’s head should they so wish.
But His Grace is rather perturbed by the response of the Postal Affairs Minister Ed Davey to this. Mr Davey told the BBC: "Any company would be absolutely stark staring mad to decide not to have the Queen's head on its stamps… I'm extremely confident that the Queen's head will remain on our stamps."
His Grace would like to know why a foreign company should have the right to use the Queen’s image at all?
The Royal Mail has a long and distinguished history going back to to 1516, when Henry VIII established a ‘Master of the Posts’. Its Royal Charter is symbolic of its national importance and significance. The UK invented the postage stamp: we are therefore privileged by being the only country in the world not obliged to place the country’s name upon our postage stamps. The Royal Mail has a foundation of five centuries of English and British sovereignty fused with five centuries of Royal patronage.
It is a little disturbing to think that the Sovereign’s head is being traded like a worthless token amongst the postal companies of Europe. There was a time when the head of Caesar was symbolic of sovereign political authority.
But then it is reported that the frontrunners to buy Royal Mail are expected to be German and Dutch operators.
The Royal Family is both German (through Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha) and Dutch (through William of Orange).
So perhaps the German mail operator Deutsche Post or the Dutch TNT would wish to retain the historic link as an assertion of their own sovereignty; a reclamation of their own royalty.
Either way, it is the end of another great sovereign British institution. But when the Queen is no longer sovereign in her realm, why persist with the façade of sovereignty? When national identity is so muddled, and murky multiculturalism has subsumed the traditions, culture and heritage of this once-great nation, perhaps a Royal Charter is as meaningless as a British Empire Medal.
Let us not forget that this Conservative-led Government is selling off Royal Mail because the EU has decreed that they must. The European Postal Services Directive (2002 and 2008), which was agreed by Labour, forces the liberalisation of European postal markets across the EU to permit EU nations to compete in national mail markets.
From Royal Mail to Europost: perhaps it is germane that Germany’s Deutche Post may finally place a vassal monarch upon an impotent throne.