Isle of Man Post Office is the first postal authority to issue a special miniature sheet to celebrate the engagement of HRH Prince William to his long-term girl-friend, Miss Catherine Middleton.
The souvenir sheet consisting of two £1.50 postage stamps depicting Prince William, who is second in line to the throne, and other images of the couple, will be released on Friday 26 November.
The photographs of Prince William shown on the two stamps were originally included in a set of four stamps issued by the Isle of Man Post Office on 9 June 2003 to commemorate the Prince’s 21st birthday.
The miniature sheet, which will be available in post offices throughout the Isle of Man price £3, was designed by Emma Cooke and printed by BDT in Ireland using the offset lithography process.
Other related products available from Isle of Man Stamps & Coins include a special presentation pack and a first day cover.
The announcement of the royal engagement was made by Buckingham Palace on Tuesday 16 November. Although no actual date for the wedding was given the official announcement added that the wedding would take place in London during 2011.
It is expected to take place in the spring or summer of next year and the couple will live in North Wales where Prince William is serving with the Royal Air Force.
Prince William and Kate Middleton met at St Andrew’s University in Fife during 2001 where they started out on the same History of Art course. They graduated in 2005, the year when their relationship first became widely known.
Peter Jennings, a Fellow of the Royal Philatelic Society London, said: “I am pleased that Isle of Man Stamps & Coins is leading the way with this captivating royal engagement miniature sheet.”
Stamp expert Mr Jennings added: “This dignified philatelic souvenir sheet will be collected by stamp collectors and non-collectors alike as one of the first mementoes of a royal occasion that is certain to lift national spirits against the rather bleak economic backdrop.”
Mrs Dot Tilbury, General Manager, Isle of Man Stamps & Coins said: “Whilst we had discussed the possibility of a Royal Engagement at some point we were genuinely swept along with the excitement of it all once the official announcement was made. We can’t wait for the wedding!”
The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said: “I was delighted to hear the news of the engagement of Prince William and Kate Middleton. My congratulations to both of them and I wish them every happiness in their married life together.”
The Archbishop of Westminster added: “I assure them of our prayers and best wishes.”
Further information is available from Isle of Man Stamps & Coins, Website: www.iomstamps.com