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Prince George features on his first Royal Mail stamp as part of Queen's 90th birthday celebrations

Published 20/04/2016

In this Handout image released by Buckingham Palace on April 20, 2016, (L-R) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge pose during a Royal Mail photoshoot for a stamp sheet to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ranald Mackechnie/Royal Mail/Getty Images)
In this Handout image released by Buckingham Palace on April 20, 2016, (L-R) Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George and Prince William, Duke of Cambridge pose during a Royal Mail photoshoot for a stamp sheet to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace in the summer of 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ranald Mackechnie/Royal Mail/Getty Images)
This Stamp Sheet issued by the Royal Mail to mark the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth II features four generations of the Royal family, from left, the Prince of Wales, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George and the Duke of Cambridge, and was taken in the summer of 2015 in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. Ranald Mackechnie/Royal Mail/PA Wire

Prince George features on a Royal Mail postage stamp for the first time as part of 10 special stamps released to celebrate the Queen's 90th birthday.

The young future king - who has his blond hair in a side parting and is wearing a smart white Rachel Riley shirt with blue piping - is seen grinning broadly in the head shot on the first class stamp.

The image of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's two-year-old son was captured by photographer Ranald Mackechnie as part of a specially commissioned wider portrait featuring four generations of the House of Windsor - the Queen and three future monarchs.

George - who will one day have his own profile as the silhouette on stamps - was pictured with his great-grandmother Elizabeth II, grandfather the Prince of Wales and father William in ornate white drawing room at Buckingham Palace.

In the touching portrait, which was taken in the summer of 2015, George is holding William's hand as he stands between the Duke and Queen.

The group family photograph appears as a stamp sheet - with perforations positioned to create a first class stamp for each of the four royals.

Behind the scenes, London based photographer Mackechnie had the challenge of ensuring the royals' heads were all roughly the same height for technical reasons - but toddler George was too short when stood next to his seated relatives.

Mackechnie came up with a clever solution - the Prince is actually balancing on four high density foam blocks, stacked together and secured by tape.

After being given George's rough heigh measurements, the photographer and his team spent two half days setting up test shoots beforehand with the blocks, which form part of his kit, before the final shoot

Mackechnie, 55, described the royals as "amazingly relaxed" and said George's joy and energy was fantastic.

File photo dated 03/05/1928 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) waving from the carriage as she drives in London as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 03/05/1928 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) waving from the carriage as she drives in London as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 06/11/1935 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) who turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 15/12/1948 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) holding her son Prince Charles after his Christening ceremony in Buckingham Palace as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 01/01/1933 of two year old Princess Margaret (seated) with her sister Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 12/05/1937 of Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother) with her eldest daughter Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) on the balcony of Buckingham Palace, after the coronation of King George VI as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 10/07/1949 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) opening a holiday centre for young people at Avon Tyrell, Hampshire as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 01/01/1945 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) at the wheel of an Army vehicle when she served during the Second World War in the Auxiliary Territorial Service as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 01/05/1926 of the Queen Mother (then the Duchess of York) with her husband, King George VI (then the Duke of York), and their daughter Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) at her christening as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 01/01/1942 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) in her Girl Guide uniform as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 30/03/2004 of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II peers round a corner during a visit to the Royal Albert Hall in London, marking the end of an 8 year restoration program as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 28/07/90 of Queen Elizabeth II at Ascot for the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Adam Butler/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/12/84 of (left to right) the Queen Mother, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince William, Prince Harry and the Prince and Princess of Wales after the christening ceremony of Prince Harry as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/06/1967 of Queen Elizabeth II at the garden party in the grounds of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, London, to mark the 50th anniversary of women in active service, during the Second World War as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 02/06/1959 of Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor joined by Sugar, one of the Royal corgis as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 12/03/47 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) riding Jill while Princess Margaret (right) rides Treasure owned by Pat O'Reilly (left) at Bonza Beach, East London, during a break from the royal tour of South Africa, as more than any other interest, horses and ponies have been the Queen's passion throughout her long life. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. The monarch's love for the equine world is something she shared with her mother and she has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Horse. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 21/04/86 of Queen Elizabeth II leaving St Georges Chapel, Windsor following a thanksgiving service at the chapel to mark her 60th birthday, as the Queen's birthday celebrations over the past 90 years have ranged from a quiet morning ride with her children at Windsor to a grand birthday ball for 500 guests. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. Her 40th birthday coincided with the State Opening of Parliament and her 80th was a busy affair including a walkabout, an intimate family dinner followed by fireworks, and a special tribute from the Prince of Wales broadcast to the nation. The monarch celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual one on April 21, as well as her official one on a Saturday in June marked by the Trooping the Colour parade. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Past. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother) & Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II)hold on to their hats as they arrive at Westminster Abbey, as towards the end of her life the Queen Mother was seen as the nation's grandmother, a venerable figure who liked following horse racing form and entertaining her friends. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. The Queen's cousin, Margaret Rhodes, said the Queen Mother's death in 2002 at the age of 101 had a profound effect on her daughter: "Not only of sadness but in a way that she could come into her own as the head of the family and as the most senior royal lady." See PA story ROYAL Birthday Influences. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 08/06/82 of Queen Elizabeth II riding her horse Centennial in Windsor Home Park, as more than any other interest, horses and ponies have been the Queen's passion throughout her long life. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. The monarch's love for the equine world is something she shared with her mother and she has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Horse. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 20/11/79 of Queen Elizabeth II (third left) and her family enjoying a stroll with their dogs in the grounds of Balmoral Castle, as Corgis have been the Queen's life-long companions - small dogs described as having big personalities. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 03, 2016. The head of state is famed for her love of the breed with many of her dogs descended from her first pet Susan, who was an 18th birthday present from her parents. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Dogs. Photo credit should read: Ron Bell/PA Wire
File photo dated 29/04/26 of the then Duke and Duchess of York with their baby daughter Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II), as the Queen was born in 1926 - the year of the country's first and only General Strike. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. Just days after Princess Elizabeth of York arrived into the world, Britain's miners walked out over attempts by pit owners to increase their working hours, but reduce their wages. In a move of solidarity, other industries - ranging from bus, rail, and docks to iron, steel and chemical workers - joined them. See PA story ROYAL Birthday 1926. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 28/11/01 of Queen Elizabeth II (left) in the Queen Vic pub during a visit to Elstree Studios where EastEnders is filmed. She was accompanied by long standing cast member Barbara Windsor (Peggy Mitchell) and her on-screen son Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchell) as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Fiona Hanson/PA Wire
File photo dated 20/07/11 of Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the National Memorial Arboretum, Staffordshire, where she laid a wreath next to the wall of the Armed Forces Memorial as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
File photo dated 16/09/10 of Queen Elizabeth II talking with Pope Benedict XVI during an audience in the Morning Drawing Room at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh during a four day visit by the Pope to the UK as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: David Cheskin/PA Wire
File photo dated 23/07/00 of Queen Elizabeth II (left) and the Queen Mother leaving church by horse drawn carriage on the Sandringham Estate, Norfolk as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 09/04/2005 of the Prince of Wales leaving St Georges Chapel in Windsor after marrying his former mistress Camilla Parker Bowles, making her an HRH and the Duchess of Cornwall. Queen Elizabeth II (behind) attended their religious blessing but was not present at their civil ceremony as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire
File photo dated 10/10/14 of actress Angelina Jolie (right) being presented with the Insignia of an Honorary Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George by Queen Elizabeth II in the 1844 Room at Buckingham Palace, London as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire
File photo dated 11/10/02 of Queen Elizabeth II enjoying a walk about, after visiting the Old Government House in Fredericton, New Brunswick during her two week Royal visit to Canada as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/04/1974 of Queen Elizabeth II smiling as she celebrated her 48th birthday at Windsor Castle as she turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 23/12/1987 of The Queen making her traditional Christmas Day address to the nation and the Commonwealth as she turns 90 on the April 21st.
File photo dated 08/07/1971 of Queen Elizabeth II leaving the King Edward VII Hospital for Officers after visiting Princess Anne. The Princess had an emergency operation for the removal of an ovarian cyst as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.
Queen Elizabeth II sitting with her corgis, at Virginia Water to watch competitors, including Prince Philip in the Marathon of the European Driving Championship, part of the Royal Windsor Horse Show PA Wire
File photo dated 10/1/1983 of Queen Elizabeth II inspecting the Guard of Honour at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Ron Bell/PA Wire
File photo dated 01/09/72 of Queen Elizabeth II in her study at Balmoral on the year of her silver wedding anniversary as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 16/07/91 of Queen Elizabeth II gesturing to Ruud Lubbers, Prime Minister of the Netherlands and President of the EC Council of Ministers, to sit on an empty chair after the Duke of Edinburgh was absent, as the leaders of the G7 Summit countries gathered for a pre-dinner photo-call in the Music Room at Buckingham Palace, London as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Martin Keene/PA Wire
File photo dated 22/11/1988 of The Duke of Edinburgh helping Queen Elizabeth II to alight from the new £120,000 Australia State Coach, Australia's bicentennial gift, at the Houses of Parliament as they arrive for the State Opening as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: David Jones/PA Wire
File photo dated 01/06/81 of Queen Elizabeth II walking through the crowds at the Royal Ascot race meeting as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
Queen Elizabeth II with some of her corgis walking the Cross Country course during the second day of the Windsor Horse Trials. PA Wire
File photo dated 21/11/92 of Queen Elizabeth II surveying the scene at following the fire at Windsor Castle as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire
File photo dated 21/04/1976 of Queen Elizabeth II on her 50th birthday with Prince Philip and their youngest son Prince Edward, 12, in the grounds of Windsor Castle as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 15/06/85 of Queen Elizabeth II taking the salute of the Household Guards regiments during the Trooping of the Colour ceremony in London as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 08/11/60 of Queen Elizabeth II holding Prince Andrew during an outing in the grounds at Balmoral, Scotland. He was the first child to be born to a reigning monarch for 103 years as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 25/12/57 of Queen Elizabeth II, in the Long Library at Sandringham, after making the first televised Christmas day broadcast to the nation. The Queen is holding the copy of 'Pilgrim's Progress', from which she read a few lines during her message as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 09/08/1951 of Princess Anne in the arms of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) with the Duke of Edinburgh, holding Prince Charles, in the grounds of Clarence House, their London residence as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 15/05/54 of Prince Charles and Princess Anne with their parents, Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh, on the balcony of Buckingham Palace following their return from the Commonwealth tour as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 30/07/1966 of England captain Bobby Moore holding the Jules Rimet Trophy, collected from the Queen Elizabeth II, after leading his team to a 4-2 victory over West Germany, in an exciting World Cup Final that went to extra time at Wembley, London as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st.PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 03/11/1964 of Queen Elizabeth II leaving after the State Opening of Parliament as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 02/06/53 after the coronation in Westminster Abbey, London showing Queen Elizabeth II wearing the St. Edward Crown and carrying the Sceptre and the Rod as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 23/03/62 of Queen Elizabeth II (left) wearing a leopard-skin coat at a Sandown Park race meeting as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/07/58 of Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Rothes Colliery, Fifeshire, it was her first visit to a coal mine and she spent about half an hour underground visiting the coal face as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 07/02/52 of Queen Elizabeth II, in a black mourning outfit, waving as she returns to Clarence House in London the day after she became Queen as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 02/06/56 of Queen Elizabeth II walking through Windsor Great Park with Prince Charles to watch the Duke of Edinburgh play polo as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 20/11/1947 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Lt Philip Mountbatten at Buckingham Palace after their wedding ceremony as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 10/11/1946 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) laying a wreath at the Cenotaph on Remembrance Sunday as she turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated18/04/1944 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) visiting the National Sea Scouts Exhibition at the London Scottish Headquarters in Buckingham Gate as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/04/1939 of Princesses Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and Margaret launching a model seaplane at the Bekonscot model village in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 27/06/1927 of the Duke and Duchess of York with King George V and Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) on the balcony of Buckingham Palace as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 21/10/1950 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) with her baby daughter, Princess Anne, after the christening at Buckingham Palace, London as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 24/10/1931 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) arriving at the 16th Century Church at Balcombe, Sussex, for the wedding of Lady May Cambridge and Captain Henry Abel Smith as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/01/1938 of King George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth and their two daughters, Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II, right) and Princess Margaret as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/05/1936 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II, left) and Margaret with the Duke and Duchess of York at the Royal Tournament at Olympia in London as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
BEST QUALITY AVAILABLE File photo dated 01/01/1943 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II, centre back) and King George VI, as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 29/05/1930 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) arriving at Olympia for the Royal Tournament as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 27/05/1932 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II)walking bareheaded through the rain on her arrival home as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/01/1941 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) in the garden of her wartime country residence (Windsor) as the Queen turns 90 on the April 21st. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. See PA story ROYAL Birthday. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 08/06/82 of the then US President Ronald Reagan and Queen Elizabeth II riding in Windsor Home Park, as more than any other interest, horses and ponies have been the Queen's passion throughout her long life. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. The monarch's love for the equine world is something she shared with her mother and she has been breeding and racing horses for more than 60 years. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Horse. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 19/04/47 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) during the Royal visit to the Natal National Park in South Africa, Shortly before her 21st birthday, as the Queen's birthday celebrations over the past 90 years have ranged from a quiet morning ride with her children at Windsor to a grand birthday ball for 500 guests. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. Her 40th birthday coincided with the State Opening of Parliament and her 80th was a busy affair including a walkabout, an intimate family dinner followed by fireworks, and a special tribute from the Prince of Wales broadcast to the nation. The monarch celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual one on April 21, as well as her official one on a Saturday in June marked by the Trooping the Colour parade. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Past. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 16/06/12 of Queen Elizabeth II (fourth from left) and members of the British royal family (from left to right) the Duchess of Cornwall, the Prince of Wales, the Earl of Wessex, the Princess Royal, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duke of Cambridge on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the annual Trooping the Colour parade, in central London. The Queen may be the head of state, but she is also a mother of four, grandmother to eight grandchildren and great-grandmother to five. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. While she is familiar around the world to millions as a sovereign, it is the Windsors who know the real Elizabeth II, sharing precious family time behind closed doors. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Family. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
File photo dated 22/04/68 of (left to right) The Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew and Prince Charles in the grounds of Frogmore House, Windsor, as the Queen may be the head of state, but she is also a mother of four, grandmother to eight grandchildren and great-grandmother to five. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. While she is familiar around the world to millions as a sovereign, it is the Windsors who know the real Elizabeth II, sharing precious family time behind closed doors. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Family. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 05/07/15 of the Duchess of Cambridge and Queen Elizabeth II with Princess Charlotte during her christening, as the Queen may be the head of state, but she is also a mother of four, grandmother to eight grandchildren and great-grandmother to five. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. While she is familiar around the world to millions as a sovereign, it is the Windsors who know the real Elizabeth II, sharing precious family time behind closed doors. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Family. Photo credit should read: Matt Dunham/PA Wire
Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) holding a Corgi, as the breed have been the Queen's life-long companions - small dogs described as having big personalities. PA Wire
File photo dated 23/11/47 of Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) and The Duke of Edinburgh during their first public appearance since their wedding, as more than any other person, the Duke of Edinburgh has had a profound effect on the Queen. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. He has been a constant reassuring presence by her side at official events from the State Opening of Parliament to official trips abroad for more than 60 years. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Influences. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/04/44 of Queen Elizabeth (now the Queen Mother) and King George VI with their daughter Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) shortly before her 18th birthday, as the Queen's birthday celebrations over the past 90 years have ranged from a quiet morning ride with her children at Windsor to a grand birthday ball for 500 guests. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. Her 40th birthday coincided with the State Opening of Parliament and her 80th was a busy affair including a walkabout, an intimate family dinner followed by fireworks, and a special tribute from the Prince of Wales broadcast to the nation. The monarch celebrates two birthdays each year: her actual one on April 21, as well as her official one on a Saturday in June marked by the Trooping the Colour parade. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Past. Photo credit should read: PA Wire
File photo dated 01/01/1897 of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee photographic portrait, as Elizabeth II will be the first British monarch to reach their 90th birthday. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Sunday April 3, 2016. She is the country's oldest ever sovereign - although is not thought to be keen on being reminded of this - and also the oldest monarch in the world. The Queen is some way ahead of her great-great-grandmother Victoria and her ancestor George III in the age stakes - they were both 81 when they died. See PA story ROYAL Birthday Queen. Photo credit should read: PA Wire

"It's great just to be asked to photograph a stamp, never mind four generations of the royal family. When I was asked about I was ecstatic but I had to keep schtum for 18 months," he said.

"It was an amazingly relaxing and light-hearted sitting. They were comfortable with one another and behaved like any family with their conversation and jokes. It was much more relaxed than when I've tried to take pictures with my family.

"The joy and energy coming out of George was fantastic. It lifted the whole shot and lifted the afternoon. He was on top form. He was quite fascinated by the lights. He took it all in his stride."

He described how as soon as the royal family taken their seats for the portrait his computer crashed, but that he was able to use one of his spare ones which he had on standby.

Mackechnie, who has also photographed footballer Wayne Rooney and worked with the Football Association, was chosen for his specialist portrait skills and his use of light in his work.

The stamps have been unveiled on the day the Queen visits a Royal Mail delivery office in Windsor, beginning her public birthday celebrations ahead of her actual 90th on Thursday.

The visit also marks the 500th anniversary of the postal service and the Queen will be presented with a collection of stamps released over the years to mark her achievements - as well as the new ones of the monarch, Charles, William and George.

Six further stamps have been released for the head of state's 90th birthday - three focusing on the Queen's family life and three honouring her official role.

They show the Queen: as a young Princess Elizabeth with her father then the Duke of York in around 1930; attending the State Opening of Parliament in 2012; with Princess Anne and Prince Charles in 1952; visiting New Zealand in 1977; with the Duke of Edinburgh in 1957; and riding in an open top carriage with Nelson Mandela in 1996.

It is the first time the Royal Mail has issued a stamp featuring the Queen and her father, who went on to become George VI.

George is also wearing his Rachel Riley blue shorts, pulled up blue socks and black t bar shoes - the same ensemble he wore in photographs taken by Kate last year showing the Prince holding his baby sister Princess Charlotte.

The stamps are available to pre-order from Wednesday April 20 at www.royalmail.com/hmq90 and can be bought Post Offices from Thursday April 21.

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