The Queen's head has been banished from a new hi-tech version of the stamp that is launched today by the Royal Mail. The decision ends a tradition dating back more than 160 years.
In future, the public will be able to download a 'stamp' from the internet which can be printed directly on to an envelope or label.
However, this new era stamp will be a barcode, rather than the traditional image. Currently, all paper stamps have an image of the queen on them, even if it is miniaturised and placed in the corner. However, there is no place for the reigning monarch on the new barcodes.
As someone also points out, prepaid envelopes and franking machines also do not have the Queen's head on them.
Now, a quick theory here; stamps can, in theory, be used as currency. Like currency, in England and Wales at least, the guarantee of a note is the Queen's head on the note or the backs of coins (the lack of which is why Scottish notes do not have to be accepted south of the border, but Northern Irish currency does).
Now, you need to have a licence to print money (although the licence was obviously not good enough for Scottish note printers Pillans and Waddies, who recently went into receivership) and, if you print a stamp with the Queen's head on from your home printer or franking machine or prepaid envelope, that is, effectively, what you are doing.
So, the question is: might this actually be a legal technicality that means that you are not allowed to print the Queen's head on a letter because you are effectively printing money?