Page last updated at 07:08 GMT, Tuesday, 23 March 2010

First Mary Queen of Scots stamp issued

Neil Oliver with stamps
The stamp set features seven monarchs from the house of Stewart

The first stamp featuring Mary Queen of Scots has been unveiled by Royal Mail.

It is one of a series showing the seven Stewart kings and queens who ruled Scotland from 1406 until the Union of the Crowns with England in 1603.

TV historian Neil Oliver launched the stamp series at Stirling Castle, the historical home of the Stewarts.

He said the Stewart monarchy was a fascinating period of Scottish history, with "many dramatic characters and events".

The house of Stewart stamps include portraits of James I to VI, as well as Scotland's most famous Queen.

It is the first time Mary, who was executed in 1587 at the age of 44, has appeared on a Royal Mail stamp.

The Stewart kings and queens after the Union of the Crowns, by which time the dynasty had also adopted the Stuart version of the name, are not shown in the stamps.

The stamp series is the latest commemorating the royal dynasties of the UK, which has previously featured the houses of Lancaster and York and the house of Tudor.

Colourful monarch

Mr Oliver added: "Mary Queen of Scots is obviously the most famous and colourful of the Stewart monarchs and it is wonderful to see her represented on a stamp.

"I'm delighted that Royal Mail is helping bring history to life through its series of stamps celebrating the history of Britain's Kings and Queens."

Stamps marking significant events and figures during the age of the Stewarts are also being issued.

These include the foundation of St Andrews University in 1413, the foundation of the Court of Session in 1532 and the religious reformer John Knox.

Ian McKay, director of Scottish affairs at Royal Mail Group, said: "These stamps will be popular with anyone who is interested in Scottish history and I hope they can add to the good work done by places like Stirling Castle to preserve and pass on Scotland's heritage."

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