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Wednesday, February 4, 1998 Published at 01:03 GMT


Huge rush to buy Diana stamps
image: [ The queues outside Great Brington Post Office started before the shop opened ]
The queues outside Great Brington Post Office started before the shop opened

Tens of millions of the new stamps commemorating the life of Diana, Princess of Wales have been sold on their first day of release, according to the Post Office.

One Japanese tourist spent two hours addressing dozens of copies of the presentation packet to send back home, an American bought 900 sets of the packet, and many other people bought entire sheets of stamps to frame.

"It's the busiest day ever in the history of the Post Office," said a spokeswoman. They have even received an order for a million sets of stamps from an American.

[ image: 10,000 Great Brington packs have been produced]
10,000 Great Brington packs have been produced
Demand was heaviest at the Post Office in the Northamptonshire village of Great Brington, near to the Althorp estate where Diana grew up and is now buried.

Postmistress Christine Whiley produced 10,000 special £10 Great Brington presentation packs containing Althorp date stamps.

Demand was huge, she sold 1,000 in pre-orders before the stamps went on sale at 9am. The shop, where Diana bought sweets when she was a child, was busy throughout the day. One man spent £2,000 on 200 packs.

Mrs Whiley, who is donating £5 from every pack sold to the Diana memorial fund, stands to make as much as £40,000 from the venture.

[ image: Production of the Diana stamps is double the normal run]
Production of the Diana stamps is double the normal run
A total of 240 million Diana stamps have been produced, and they will stay on sale throughout 1998. Sales of the special issue are expected to break all records with £6 million in profits already pledged to the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Fund.

The first-class stamps, with a face value of 26p, feature both formal and informal poses. Each stamp has a purple border as a mark of respect.

Post Office chief executive John Roberts said: "The tragic death of the Princess deeply shocked and saddened the nation. The stamps will be a beautiful and enduring tribute to her life.

Design work given Royal approval

A Kensington Palace spokesman said the Princess's family were "delighted" with the design of the stamps and welcomed the issue.

The Queen gave her approval to the designs soon after Diana's death, but the release was delayed.

It is understood that members of the Spencer family were concerned that Prince William and Prince Harry would be upset at seeing their mother's face on stamps soon after her death.

Five faces of a Princess

More than 120 million stamps in sets of five will be released to meet the expected demand. The stamps feature:
[ image:  ]
A photograph by Lord Snowdon, featured in the Christie's catalogue for the charity dress auction held in June 1997.

[ image:  ]
An informal photograph by John Stillwell of PA News, taken in April at the British Lung Foundation in London.

[ image:  ]
A formal photograph by Lord Snowdon, taken on the eve of an official visit by the Princess to Pakistan in 1991.

[ image:  ]
An informal photograph by Tim Graham, taken when the Princess visited the National Institute of Conductive Education in Birmingham in October 1995.

[ image:  ]
A portrait photograph taken by the late Terence Donovan in 1987.


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  Internet Links

BBC's Diana Tribute site

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