United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Union flag
which represents
England, Scotland
and Northern Ireland
Cross of St. George
Wales - Cymru
Welsh Dragon
Cross of St. Andrew
(The Saltire)
Northern Ireland
Tuaisceart Éireann
Norlin Airlann
Cross of St. Patrick
Northern Ireland
Ulster banner
Meirge Uladh
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The Four Countries of the UK
Royal Mail - Post Brenhinol
The regional Country Definitive and
country-related Special postage stamps
Until today Royal Mail has issued three series of Country definitive stamps (formerly know as »Regional Issues«)
to reflect the regional identity of the United Kingdom's Home Countries.
The regional Wilding definitives
After an initial false start in the 1940s the first series of Regional Definitive stamps was first introduced in 1958 with three stamps each for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. All stamps feature the photographic portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II taken in February 1952 by Dorothy Wilding (* 1893, † 1976) . Depending on region and face value of the stamps various types of national icons are integrated with the Queen's portrait. The series was in use until 1971.
Regional emblems of cultural significance added to the Queen's portrait
Wales - Each stamp shows the Welsh Dragon below the Queen's portrait.
Face values:
3/4/5d: The Queen's portrait is flanked on both sides by Leek leafs inscribed »POSTAGE« on the left and »REVENUE« on the right side.
6/9d: The Queen's portait is enclosed by the words »POSTAGE« and »REVENUE« in two side panels down the length of the stamp.
1s3d/1s6d: The Welsh Dragon is flanked to the right by a Common Leek [Allium ampeloprasum] plant. The words »POSTAGE« and »REVENUE« are included to the left and right of the Queen's portrait.
Scotland - Face values:
3/4/5d: Saltire environed of an open Crown at the bottom on the left, a Thistle with a 17th-century version of the Scottish Crown at the bottom on the right.
6/9d: Scottish Thistel shown in top left/right corner of the stamp. The Queen's portrait is flanked by strongly conventionalized thistels.
1s3d/1s6d: Crowned and collared Unicorns supporting flags showing a Lion Rampant on the left and the St. Andrew's Cross on the right side of the Queen's portrait.
Northern Ireland -The right Red Hand of Ulster and the Flax plant is shown on all stamps.
Face values:
3/4/5d: The Red Hand of Ulster within a Crowned six-pointed Star and a Flax [Linum usitatissimum] plant to symbolize the Irish linnen industry adorns the Queen's portrait.
6/9d: The Queen's portrait is flanked by a Flax plant on the left/right side and the Red Hand of Ulster is included in the Queen's portrait at bottom left/right enclosing the face value of the stamp.
1s3d/1s6d: A Flax plant at top left, Red Hand of Ulster at top right and a Ulster Field Gate, a charateristic feature of the Ulster countryside, at the bottom surrounds the Queen's portrait.
The regional Machin definitives
The second series of Regional Definitive stamps for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland was first introduced in 1971. The stamps with decimal denomination feature a portrait of HM Queen Elizabeth II after the plaster cast created by Arnold Machin (* 1911, † 1999) and first introduced in June 1967. A heraldic icon in the upper left corner of the stamps identifies the region. The series was in use until 1999 (Scotland, Wales) and 2001 (Northern Ireland) respectively.
Regional heraldic symbols added to the Queen's portrait
Wales - Dragon
Scotland - Lion Rampant
Northern Ireland - The Red Hand of Ulster within a Crowned six-pointed Star.
The pictorial Country definitives
The third series of Regional Definitive stamps, now called »Country« Definitives, was first introduced in 1999 with four stamps each for Wales and Scotland. The stamps for England and Northern Ireland followed in 2001. The stamps appeared in a completly new design, comprising national icons as a predominant feature and a small silver-coloured contour of the head of HM Queen Elizabeth II in the upper right corner. However by reason of dark stamp colours and because it was hard to see what the images of some stamps are supposed to represent, the new design soon became unpopular with the general public and also with stamp collectors. For that reason Royal Mail upgraded in 2003 the unpopular Country Definitives with a white border around the stamp image and changed the colour of the Queen's head for a better visibility from silver to white. But that rework did not make things really better - the poor design of the series remains disliked to this day. In 2013 an additional stamp featuring the country's flag was issued for England, Wales and Scotland.
Country-related symbols depicted on the Country Definitive stamps
England - Three Lions, Crowned Lion holding Shield of St. George, Oak Tree, Tudor Rose, English Flag
Wales - Leek, Welsh Dragon, Daffodil, Prince of Wales Feathers, Welsh Flag
Scotland - Scottish Flag, Lion Rampant,Thistle, Tartan, Saltire Flag
Northern Ireland - Basalt Columns (Giant's Causeway), Arial View of Patchwork Fieds, Linen Pattern, Vase Pattern
For a detailed view of the various stamp images please refer to the corresponding country page.


50th Anniversary of the Country Definitives
1958 - 2008
Please click    to read more ...
SG# DX43 // 29 September 2008
Prestige Stamp Booklet
The Regional Definitives
Heraldy and Symbol
The booklet's front cover shows heraldic symbols
of Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales
and Isle of Man
Printed in lithography by De La Rue (DLR) Security Printer, the booklet contains text and illustrations on panes and interleaving pages.
Please click    to view booklet panes ...
SG# NI153 // 29 September 2008
Miniature Sheet
The miniature sheet features the images of the first nine Regional Definitives, three each for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland,
issued in Aug/Sep 1958.
Reissued as contemporary NVI 1st Class stamps and perforation 15x14 with one elliptical hole in each vertical side.
FDI special postmarks


The British Crown Dependencies


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