Royal Mail reveal a first look at the new stamps featuring King Charles III

One of the first sheets of the 1st class definitive stamp featuring King Charles III is unveiled as it goes on display at the Postal Museum in central London, before they enter circulation later this year Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

New stamps featuring a picture of the King have been unveiled for the first time.

The Royal Mail has revealed the image of Charles which will feature on first and second class stamps.

The simple, uncluttered design draws inspiration from stamps that featured the late Queen, with a Royal Mail executive describing it as a “defining part” of his reign.

David Gold, Royal Mail’s director of external affairs and policy, said Charles did not want existing stamp stocks showing the Queen to be shredded, but used up over time.

Mr Gold said: “He was very clear, however long it takes you to clear the stock there’s no rush, and that’s entirely in line with his well stated principles on waste and environmentalism.”

One of the first sheets of the 1st class definitive stamp featuring King Charles III is unveiled as it goes on display at the Postal Museum Credit: PA

The new stamp design features Charles’ head and neck and him facing left as all monarchs have done since the Penny Black, the world’s first postage stamp, was issued in 1840 with Queen Victoria’s image.

Mr Gold said: “I think perhaps there’s an acknowledgement that, for 70 years people have been so used to seeing the image of Her Majesty, even though actually the current image only started in 1967, they didn’t want to do anything too different to what had gone before.

“Personally, I think 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’, which I think in this modern age is actually rather humbling.”

The King’s image is used on definitive stamps, sometimes referred to as “every day” stamps, that have just the monarch’s head and value of the stamp on a plain coloured background with a barcode alongside.

British artist Martin Jennings made a profile sculpture of Charles for the Royal Mint who were creating UK coins and a team for the Royal Mail adapted an image of the artwork, adjusting and relighting the picture for use on the new stamps.

One of the first sheets of the 1st class definitive stamp featuring King Charles III Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

Commenting on the efforts of the Royal Mail team, who began working on the project following the Queen’s death in September, Mr Gold added: “I don’t underestimate how challenging it was for them.

“But also I know that I can say on their behalf how privileged they felt to be able to work on this project… it will forever be a part of history."

The stamps go on sale from April 4 but collectors and the general public can now register their interest on Royal Mail’s website.

Post offices and other retailers will not start selling the new stamps until their stocks featuring the late Queen are sold.

A sheet depicting the stamps on display at the Postal Museum in central London Credit: Victoria Jones/PA

The new first class stamp will form part of an exhibition at London’s Postal Museum about the nation’s definitive stamps called The King’s Stamp, which runs until September 23.

The display will celebrate the newest stamp design with a unique chance to see a sheet of King Charles III first class stamps before they are in public circulation.

New episodes of The Royal Rota are released every week - listen and subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts.

For more royal news, like the ITV News Royals Facebook page. Our royal team are on Instagram, too.