Queen Elizabeth II is turning the big 9-0 on Thursday, and, to commemorate the milestone, the UK’s Royal Mail will be releasing a special edition sheet of stamps featuring none other than Prince George. The official portrait used for the stamp sheet was released Wednesday, according to Mashable, and includes four generations of British royalty — the Queen, along with the three direct heirs to the throne, Charles, The Prince of Wales, William, The Duke of Cambridge, and little Prince George. So that technically means that all four royals will have their face on stamps as part of the collection, but let’s be honest, the prospect of having Prince George’s cute face on my electricity bill is the most exciting thing about this news. So here’s how to get the Prince George stamps, because whether you want to admit it or not, you know you kind of want them.
According to the Daily Mail, Brits can pick up the special stamps at their local Royal Mail post office — a one sheet featuring all four stamps will set you back £2.56 (which is the regular price of four First Class stamps). Because the stamps come as a set and are not sold individually, you’ll have to buy all four to get the Prince George stamp, but whatever, look at that face. Not in the UK? Fans of the young royal can order the stamps online directly from the Royal Mail website. In addition to the four stamps from the official portrait, six other commemorative stamps will be released as well, showing important moments from the Queen’s reign over the years.
Although the portrait has just been released, it was actually shot last summer, according to Us Weekly. Photographer Ranald Mackechnie took the photo in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, and even though it looks like a relaxed family photo, the pressure on Mackechnie to get the shot just right was immense. According to the Independent, Mackechnie took weeks to prepare, as each person in the photo had to be positioned in a very specific way (which is also why Prince George is standing on a foam block in the picture!). Of the process, Mackechnie said,
Because the picture was going to be turned into stamps on a sheet, each person’s head had to be in exactly the right place. A millimeter the wrong way on the final stamp sheet would have made the perforations too close together, so I had to make sure everyone was spaced the right distance apart.
The shoot took only a half hour from start to finish, and Mackechnie said that, even at 2 years old, Prince George was a consummate professional:
He was absolutely charming, as you can see from the picture. You only have a short window of opportunity with small children, but Prince George was on good form and everyone seemed to enjoy seeing him enjoy the day.
He was fascinated by my lights and all the kit, and he was quite happy standing on the blocks. I took maybe 80 or 100 shots, but when I saw this one I knew straight away that was it.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the shoot, though? The fact that Mackechnie was able to keep the whole thing a secret — even from his own wife — for 18 months! He told the Independent on Tuesday ahead of the photo’s release,
She still doesn’t know. She will only find out when this is made public. I stuck to the John le Carre theory that if you tell one person, you’ve told everyone.
Well, I know it is the Queen and all, but if my husband went to Buckingham Palace to take a historic photograph of the longest-reigning British monarch and four potential Kings and didn’t tell me about it? I would not be amused.