20c, 60c, 90c, $1.00,
Mint and CTO $4.50
6 February 1992
Tablet Values: 20c, 60c, 90c, $1.00, $1.80
Artist: Derek Miller
Photographs of HM the
Queen provided by: Alpha Photographic Press Agency Ltd
Printers: Leigh-Mardon Pty Ltd (Lower 4 values)
The House of Questa Ltd ($1.80)
Paper: CA Watermark
Stamp Size: 28.45 x 42.58 mm
Perforation Gauge: 14.06 x 14.09 mm (Leigh-Mardon)
14 per 2 cm (House of Questa)
Pane Format: 50 (2 x 25)
Mint and CTO: $4.50
First Day Cover: $5.00
A bitter wind blew across Heathrow on 31 January 1952 when Princess Elizabeth and her husband Prince Philip left London airport for a five month tour of East Africa, Australia and New Zealand. King George VI, accompanied by the Queen and Princess Margaret, insisted on remaining on the tarmac until the aircraft had vanished into a leaden sky.
Five days later, the young royal couple were in Kenya, staying at Treetops Hotel, a three-bedroomed resthouse built in the branches of a giant fig tree. Beneath the hotel was a salt-lick and pool which could be floodlit at night to give the appearance of moonlight. On the evening of 5 February and late into the night they watched and photographed the wild animals beneath a platform in front of the hotel. Princess Elizabeth retired for an hour or two's sleep, ready to begin photographing again at dawn.
Kenya time was three hours in advance of the British time. As Elizabeth Longford says in her biography of the Queen, "...it is therefore more likely that it was at a moment when the King and his successor were both asleep that the crown passed". King George VI died peacefully in his sleep during the very early hours of 6 February 1952.
Unaware that she was now Queen, the former princess left Treetops to fish for trout twenty miles away and it was not until lunchtime that news of the King's death reached her. By five in the afternoon, the royal party began a journey which ended in London twenty four hours later - just one week after leaving.
Britain was in mourning as the Queen stepped from the aircraft to be greeted by her Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, Opposition Leader Clement Atlee and other dignitaries.
At the Accession Council of Queen Elizabeth II the following day, the young queen in black appeared alone before a gathering of elders in St James's Palace. She read her Declaration of Sovereignty to the assembled Privy Councillors in a clear steady voice which the Declaration of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was proclaimed by heralds from the ramparts of the Palace and elsewhere in London.
At twenty five years of age, her personal, carefree life was over.
- Elizabeth R, A Biography, Weidenfeld and
Nicolson, London, 1983.
Godfrey Talbot - The Country Life Book of the Royal Family,
Life Books, Richmond upon Thames, 1980.
Her Majesty features on all five stamps in the set. The lower three tablet values show different portraits of the Queen superimposed on photographs of the harbour with the jetty and The Edge above (20c stamp), sunset from the government hostel (60c stamp) and the northern coastline from Belty looking towards Matts Rocks (90c stamp). The three portraits are combined on the $1.00 stamp and the $1.80 value carries an exclusive portrait specially selected by Her Majesty the Queen for the Crown Agents Stamp Bureau which is producing a Ruby Jubilee omnibus set for a number of its Principals. The text on this stamp is printed in gold.