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Friday, 26 April, 2002, 00:08 GMT 01:08 UK
Stamps honour Queen Mother
Set of commemorative Queen Mother stamps
Stamps show different eras of the Queen Mother's life
Six million black-edged stamps commemorating the Queen Mother have sold on the first day of going on sale.

The Royal Mail said sales of the sets of commemorative stamps had been going "crazy", but promised there would be enough for everyone who wanted one.

Each of the four stamps features a portrait of the Queen Mother at a different stage of her long life.

As Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1907
The Queen Mother as a young girl in 1907
Originally issued in 1990 to mark her 90th birthday, the stamps have been framed in black as a mark of respect.

They carry the words "HM Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother 1900 - 2002", and the Queen's head appears in black.

The stamps show the Queen Mother's transition from young girl to royal matriarch, charting her changing role in the life of the nation.

Duchess of York in 1930
She became Duchess of York upon marriage
There is expected to be a huge demand from all over the world.

Gavin Macrae, managing director of Royal Mail stamps and collectibles, said: "Interest in the commemorative issue both globally and domestically has been immense.

"We have distributed more than double the usual number of special stamps to all post offices to meet the expected first day demand."

Queen Consort to her husband King George VI in 1948
She never expected to become Queen
First pictured as Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in 1907, she is then shown as the Duchess of York in 1930, as Queen Consort to King George VI in 1948, and finally as Queen Mother in 1980.

The commemorative first day cover - normally only available on the issue day or if ordered a week in advance - will be on sale until 23 May.

Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother in 1980
By 1980 she had spent half a century in the public's affection
Containing a set of stamps, it is postmarked "St James's Palace, 25 April".

Presentation packs include the stamps together with photographs and information about the Queen Mother.

More than 700 million stamps featuring the Queen Mother's image have been printed over the years in the UK, the Royal Mail estimates.

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