One parlor pastime for British Colony collectors is to examine the portraits on stamps of royal family members as they age. First is Victoria, who appeared as completely different personae during her long reign: as a swanlike beauty in the early Chalon portraiture; a classically sculpted empress-in-profile in her middle decades; finally, as the stout dowager queen, under an elaborate headdress, gazing wistfully into the light …
The former British colony of Victoria, in southeastern Australia, indulged in a 50-year philatelic tribute to its eponymous queen. Victoria postal authorities issued more than 200 stamps with portraits through the years, starting with a crude rendering in 1850 of a simply dressed monarch sitting demurely on her throne. (SInce I don’t make a specialty of collecting Australia, I cannot offer a worthy sampling here. But you can find wonderful, full-color renderings of all the Victoria stamps you’d want to see — or buy — on eBay and other sites.)
The Canadian province of Newfoundland was a big-time producer of stamps bearing portraits of royals during its 90-year postal history that ended in 1947. There were three portrayals of the future King Edward VIII — as a stripling laddie in 1868, a bonnie prince in 1880, and the plump, bearded embodiment of the “Edwardian age” in 1897. Isn’t it interesting to examine contemporaneous depictions of this particular Duke of Wales through the years, starting long before he began his 10-year reign at age 59 in January, 1901.
Below are more portrayals of future British monarchs before they ascended the throne.
George VI (Prince Albert, Duke of York)