The King has become the first monarch to feature on an everyday stamp without a crown in a move lauded as “humbling”. In previous designs, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria wore a diamond diadem created for the Coronation of George IV in 1821.
And a crown was pictured alongside other monarchs, even if they did not wear it.
On the first and second-class stamps revealed today, Charles III faces left like all Kings and Queens since Victoria on the first adhesive postage stamp – the Penny Black – in 1840.
Charles, 74, also wanted continuity with the uncluttered style of his mother.
But there is no crown anywhere in the design, adapted from a profile sculpture made by artist Martin Jennings for the Royal Mint’s new coins.
David Gold, at the Royal Mail, said: “What marks this stamp out is that there is no embellishment at all, no crown, just simply the face of the human being, on the plain background, almost saying, ‘This is me and I’m at your service’. I think in this modern age it is actually rather humbling.”
The stamps go on general sale from April 4, but retailers will wait until their stocks featuring Queen Elizabeth are sold.
David said: “The King gave very clear directions he didn’t want anything to be pulped, he didn’t want things being shredded, he didn’t want stock being thrown away.”
The new first-class stamp features in an exhibition at London’s Postal Museum called The King’s Stamp until September 23.