Royal Mail / 06 September 2016
Royal Mail celebrated the 500 years of the postal service with a reception attended by Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall at the Merchant Taylors Hall in the City of London.
The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall were met by Royal Mail’s Chief Executive Moya Greene and Chairman Peter Long. As the Royal party arrived, the Royal Mail choirs sang songs with a postal theme.
The Royal couple viewed a timeline of Royal Mail’s 500 year history, and saw footage of a recreation of the first airmail flight, which took place in 1916. They also signed a visitors’ book that will be displayed at Royal Mail’s headquarters.
During the reception, the Royal couple spoke to Royal Mail postmen and women who have given 50 years’ service or more to the business, Armed Forces reservists, Royal Mail charity champions and apprentices.
New Penfold postbox
Their Royal Highnesses unveiled a new replica Penfold postbox, painted green and gold as these hexagonal-shaped boxes were when they were first introduced 150 years ago. It is the only design of postbox named after its designer, John Penfold.
The postbox will be installed in a permanent location on St Martin’s Le Grand in the City of London, outside the General Post Office (GPO)’s former headquarters, and has a plaque fixed to it giving details of its unveiling and significance. For the first month, mail posted in this box by customers will receive a special handstamp to cancel the stamp.
A letter from The Prince of Wales addressed to Royal Mail employees will be one of the first letters to be posted in this new box.
The Royal couple also cut Royal Mail’s 500th birthday cake, specially made bySergeant Mik Cottingham of the 2nd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment based in Catterick, North Yorkshire. His Royal Mail themed cake had previously won Gold in the Celebration Cake Category of the Army’s annual Field Catering and Culinary Arts Competition held in July. He was invited to recreate it for the Royal reception. The cake was given to The Prince’s Trust Morgan Stanley centre in Poplar, East London, to be enjoyed by the young people undertaking Prince’s Trust programme activities there.
Presentations to The Royal couple
The Prince of Wales was presented with a fountain pen by Royal Mail’s Chief Executive Moya Greene.
The Duchess of Cornwall was presented with a bouquet of flowers by eight year old Mason White, the son of Francis White who works in Royal Mail’s Central London Mail Centre at Mount Pleasant. Mason suffered a stroke at birth, and is now a determined fundraiser, including for Stroke Association, Royal Mail’s charity partner.
Moya Greene, Royal Mail’s Chief Executive, said: “We are honoured and delighted that Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall joined us to celebrate 500 years of the postal service. Royal Mail is incredibly proud of its Royal associations. Even though today’s postal service is very different to the one King Henry VIII founded in 1516, we have never erred from our core aim – to deliver mail safely, swiftly and securely.”