Princess Elizabeth, who was in Kenya at the time, became Queen Elizabeth II at the age of 25, and returned to the United Kingdom as soon as arrangements could be made.
In 1977 the Post Office marked the Silver Jubilee with a set of 5 stamps issued on 11 May, with a further 9p stamp for the increased postage rate on 15 June. The profile used was criticised at the time, but the Post Office maximised coverage by producing souvenir covers for each of the towns and cities visited by the Royal Tour. (SG 1033-7)
The next commemoration marked the 40th anniversary in 1992, when a strip of five 24p horizontal multicoloured stamps was issued. This was an attractive set, and set the bar for future royal anniversary issues. One problem was the strip of 5, because it was difficult to fix to first day covers, and to mount in albums - it was too big for the page unless turned sideways. (SG1602-6)
The Golden Jubilee in 2002 was marked by a set of stamps illustrated with five black and white studio portraits, in values from 2nd class to 65p. (SG 2253-7) This set was unusual as the paper was watermarked with multiple '50' - and those in the prestige book had the watermark upright, whilst the sheet stamps had sideways watermarks. Also included in the book was a pane of the first Wilding definitives revalued as 1st and 2nd class, one of the 2nd class being in the selvedge outside the normal pane of 8 and printed at an angle, dubbed the 'wonky wilding'. Also for 2002, the colour of the 1st class Machin definitive was changed to gold.
2012 marked the Diamond Jubilee of the Accession, and the London Olympic Games, and was a bumper year for Royal Mail stamps. The colour of the 1st class definitive was changed do 'Diamond Blue' in all self-adhesive formats, and was also included in a gummed miniature sheet accompanied by five other 1st class stamps. One was based on the 1s Wilding definitive, two included detail from coins, and two more were based on banknote portraits.
The miniature sheet and some of the definitive stamps were issued on 6 February, others were supposed to be issued on 27 March, then delayed until 25 April, although some Post Offices managed to sell them as early as 8 March.
By now Post and Go stamps had been introduced and the commemoration included additional inscriptions on Machin Post and Go stamps sold at Stampex.
And so to 2017 and the 65th Anniversary. How many stamps would be in the set, or miniature sheet that Royal Mail issues to mark this event?
Well, we've already pictured a £5 Machin definitive - what may be just one of several, or may not - as shown on a cover-producer's website, but although we now have the stamps we cannot show them or provide any details until Royal Mail add it onto their own website or publish it in their Philatelic Bulletin. So there you have it - or not. We have the pictures all ready to add to this post, but it may not be before the end of January!
UPDATE 31ST JANUARY:
I am pleased to say that Royal Mail have now added this stamp to their website, so I am now able to
show the real thing here, rather than design studio preliminaries.
There IS only one stamp. Although listed on the Royal Mail webshop in the 'latest special stamps' listing it is announced as a definitive, replacing the £5 blue issued in 2009.
Nonetheless it has a commemorative iridescent layer, and a commemorative inscription in the top margin. I don't know how Royal Mail standing order customers are placed: ideally both those with High Value Definitives and Special Stamps on SO should receive it but I wouldn't want to bet either way! As you can see the design incorporates a 17 year code in the word ACCESSION in the iridescent 65TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE ACCE17ION. Although the existing high value stamps are not widely sold the existence of the year code suggests that Royal Mail have had a print run small enough to require more to be printed next year with an 18 code.
(Click on these to see a larger image.)
UPDATE: The stamps are 30 x 40mm, and the sheets 80 x 223mm - the stamps are slightly smaller than the similar high values issued in 1977. (Apologies for omitting this detail originally.)
The stamp is now listed on our webshop with Norvic number 4500 (click here). I don't know where SG will include it in the Concise catalogue and we await the next Gibbons Stamp Monthly with interest.