Monday, 17 April 2017

British Royal Postmarks


**Be aware this is all international mail, postmarks will be a little different for mail sent to people inside the UK. Mainly it will lack the airmail stamp, and may be sent 2nd class.**

For many of you, the red Buckingham Palace Postmark is instantly recognizable. But what does it mean? And why don't all Royal Offices have their own Postmark?

Most of the time, when you write to a British Royal, one of the last stops before your letter arrives at their office is the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. The Court Post Office is run by the Royal Mail and is separate from the Royal Household at Buckingham Palace. The Court Post Office receives all the mail for the Royal Offices & Households in that area. After running additional security checks, the post office will sort the mail and deliver it to the correct office.

It is then the Royal Mail's job to collected all of the office's outgoing mail and take it back to the Court Post Office. It is there that the outgoing mail is franked (stamped with the postage and postmark). This is why all of the Royal Mail from London has Buckingham Palace on the postmark, because that is the name of the Post Office where it is processed. The mail will then be sorted, and sent out to be delivered.

Since 2001, the Sovereign Grant has paid for the Royal's postage. Previously, the service was provided for free by the Royal Mail.

Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace

There is one main postmark that is stamped on most of the Royal Mail that is processed through the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. This includes letter from Buckingham Palace, Clarence House, St. James Palace, Kensington Palace, occasionally other Royal Residences outside of London (Windsor, Birkhall, etc.)

Air Mail Stamped  

Air Mail Sticker

Double Postmark

Occasionally, you will get a reply that has the typical Buckingham Palace postmark and another Postmark. I'm pretty sure this is just accidental and done when the mail is taken to the next post office on it's route to you. The Mount Pleasant Mail Centre (as seen on the postmark) is London's largest sorting center and a lot of London's international mail is sorted through that center before heading to the Heathrow Worldwide Distribution Centre.

Other
Occasionally, you will see them use a stamp on their envelopes. This is usually done to mark special occasions and is only used on mail sent out during a few days. And I believe only done on mail to people in the UK.

You may also see special postmarks for the organizations that have offices at one of the Royal Buildings, that is being processed through this office.

Court Post Office at Windsor Castle 

The other year-round Court Post Office is at Windsor Castle, which handles mail for the Royal Residences in that area (Windsor Castle, Royal Lodge, etc.). Although I have seen people get mail from Windsor Castle with the Buckingham Palace Postmark. Windsor Castle is the Queen's weekend residences. She also spends her Easter Holiday there. 


The other Royal Residences don't have their own full-time Post Office. I'm not entirely sure the details on how their mail is processed. Some of them will just have their mail taken to London and dealt with the Court Post Office at Buckingham Palace. Others have their own Franking Machine to stamp the envelopes, and then they will just deliver it to their local post office.


Sandringham House
Used for Sandringham House

I know in the past, the Royal Mail set up a temporary post office on the Sandringham estate when the Queen is in residence. Don't know if they still do that. 

Other
Used for Bagshot Park


Also Check Out:
Writing to the Royals
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2 comments:

  1. Last year when I wrote to Prince Philip for his 95th birthday the reply came from Edinburgh. It had the same postmark as Sandringham House (except the address was that of the Palace of Hoylroodhouse) and had the same EIIR cypher in the bottom left corner as your reply from Bagshot Park.

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