Even if Britain's Royal Mail is sold to a foreign buyer, Her Royal Highness will still grace its stamp, the U.K. government said Sunday.
Sculptor Arnold Machin's depiction of a youthful Queen Elizabeth II has appeared on billions of stamps since it was commissioned in 1967 and has become a classic of British design.
So there was disquiet when media reports suggested that plans to part-privatize the Royal Mail could mean that the queen's head would disappear from Britain's letters and parcels.
"Off with her head!" the Mail on Sunday tabloid screamed last month, warning that a loophole in the privatization legislation might allow foreign owners — German or Dutch operators are expected to be among the top bidders — to drop the queen from the country's mail.
But Business Minister Ed Davey told the tabloid newspaper that he would put forward an amendment to make it impossible for a buyer to remove the monarch's image from stamps without royal assent.
Britain pioneered the postage stamp in the mid-19th century and images of the reigning monarch — usually a depiction of his or her head — has been a fixture of the British mail service since.
The Parliament will next week debate The Postal Services Bill, which includes proposals on selling off parts of the Royal Mail.
The Communication Workers Union, which represents postal workers, is furious at the move. Some 500 workers carried placards saying "Royal Mail, not for sale," during a Sunday protest in the southern England constituency of Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Queen's Head Stamp: http://bit.ly/gof0oI