Sunday, December 5

Queen on form amid family crisis



The Queen was on sparkling form as she opened the new headquarters of the Royal Philatelic Society today.

The monarch, 93, viewed a portrait of herself during a tour of the society’s new building in the City of London, which has been opened to mark the organisations 150th anniversary.

And if she was still reeling from last week’s events involving her beleaguered son, Prince Andrew, she wasn’t showing it a bit.

It comes days after Andrew, 59, announced he was stepping down from royal duties with the approval of his mother.

The Queen brushed aside any concerns and happily joked with society members during the visit.

 Kelly, arrived at the headquarters in a Range Rover, not her official Bentley, as the road was too narrow for her normal official car to squeeze down.

Asked to sign a visitor’s book she gave a twinkling smile and joked: ‘Proof!’

She also smiled mischievously and she exited a room full of awed members, saying loudly: ‘You’re all terribly silent, aren’t you?’ prompting roars of laughter.

The monarch, dressed in a rich sea green cloque coat and matching hat by Angela

She also sported an eye-caching diamond and emerald brooch.

After being welcomed by Alderman William Russell, The Rt.Hon. the Lord Mayor of the City of London, she was introduced to senior staff by the President of the Royal Philatelic Society and viewed a display of philatelic artefacts.

Discussing the society’s move to the building, which has been two years in the making, The Queen said: ‘That must have been quite a business, I should think, wasn’t it? Quite stressful. I hope you are enjoying the place.’

Among some of the artefacts she was shown were letters written by her grandfather, King George V, who was a notable stamp collector.

In 1893, as Duke of York, he was elected honoured vice-president of what became the Royal Philatelic Society of London, with himself as patron.

On his marriage that year, fellow members of the society gave him an album of nearly 1,500 postage stamps as a wedding present.

He expanded the collection with a number of rare stamps and covers including a 1904 Mauritius two pence blue for £1,450, which set a new record for a single stamp.

A courtier asked the prince if he had seen ‘that some damned fool had paid as much as £1,400 for one stamp’. ‘Yes,’ George replied. ‘I was that damned fool!

He also gave permission for the society to adopt the word ‘royal’.