Royal Mail has released a Christmas stamp collection featuring the silhouette of the Queen for the final time.
Designed by Kent-based artist Katie Poner, the set of six Art Deco-style stamps focuses on key moments from the Nativity, with each bearing an outline of the late monarch for the last time in more than 50 years.
The distinctive silhouette of Queen Elizabeth II facing to the left and wearing the Diamond Diadem has appeared on festive stamps since 1967, according to the Postal Museum, and was designed by Arnold Machin.
Royal Mail’s colourful Christmas 2022 stamps depict key images from the Nativity story, including the journey to Bethlehem and the Magi being guided by the star.
Each stamp also bears a barcode which customers can scan via the Royal Mail app to watch a festive video of Shaun the Sheep, created by Aardman Studios.
Royal Mail policy director David Gold said: “Our Christmas stamp issue is always much anticipated, and it is one we particularly look forward to. The charming style of these designs sets the perfect tone for the festive season.”
Royal Mail also worked on the collection with The Reverend Lucy Winkett, Rector of St James’s Church in Piccadilly, central London.
It comes as post offices urge people to post Christmas cards early this year. People have been told to send out parcels using second-class stamps by 19 December and by 21 December for those sent first-class.
Although it is the last time the Queen’s silhouette will feature on a Christmas collection, some stamps are due to be issued over the coming months that were approved by her and will still display her silhouette.
How to buy the stamps
Stamps can be bought online on the Royal Mail website.
You can also buy collectors’ sheets for £23.05, souvenirs sheets for £10.90 or regular stamp books either 1st class or 2nd class.
The Christmas 2022 1st Class Stamp Book costs £7.60 for eight stamps, and the 2nd Class stamp book is £5.44.
Christmas 2022 First Day envelopes are also available for 30p.
Warning over postal strikes
Strike action is due to cause disruption to the postal service in the coming weeks as industrial action is set to take place in the run-up to Christmas.
The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has confirmed its members will stage a 48-hour strike on both Friday 25 November and Monday 28 November, affecting Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
However, the union said it had decided to withdraw industrial action notices over the next fortnight following a letter from Royal Mail’s legal team.
Planned industrial action on 2, 3, 4, 8, 9 and 10 November will not go ahead, but strikes will resume on Saturday 12 November.
CWU general secretary Dave Ward said industrial action will continue in the run up to Christmas unless the dispute is resolved.
A Royal Mail spokesman said: “On Monday October 31, Royal Mail proposed a new pay-for-change offer to the CWU worth 9% over two years, despite making a loss of £219 million in the first half of the year.
“The CWU have been in talks with us at Acas and claim they are open to change but they now need to show it.
“Instead, the CWU have announced four days of strike action which will damage our business further at our busiest time of year. The CWU is playing a dangerous game with its members’ jobs and the future of Royal Mail.
“We urge CWU to withdraw these strikes for the good of our customers and our people. We apologise to our customers for the inconvenience the CWU’s continued strike action will cause.
“We are doing all we can to minimise delays and keep people, businesses and the country connected.”