The popular Netflix drama “The Crown” recently used postage stamps as a symbolic backdrop to mark a pivotal casting change.
The series chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II. During its first two seasons, which followed Elizabeth from 1947-1964, the role was played by Claire Foy, but for the newly launched third season, which spans 1964-1977, Olivia Colman takes over the part.
The new season begins with the unveiling of a portrait of the queen that has been commissioned to appear on Britain’s postage — an image that better represents the aging monarch. In the scene, Elizabeth stares at side-by-side images of her younger and older self before the opening credits roll.
After the episode premiered, the royal family’s official Twitter account posted a series of tweets that explained the history behind the stamps bearing Elizabeth’s portraits.
“These photographs taken by Dorothy Wilding, of Her Majesty in 1952, were used as the basis of The Queen’s image on postage stamps from 1953 until 1971. In two sittings, photographer Wilding took 59 images of The Queen,” one tweet reads.
Another post explains that Arnold Machin’s effigy of Elizabeth has been featured on U.K. stamps since 1967 and is “widely considered to be one of the most reproduced and iconic images in the world.” The image has been reprinted an estimated 220 billion times, in more than 130 different colors.
“The Crown” scene also caught the attention of the American Philatelic Society, which posted a blog entry about the stamp.
The real-life Elizabeth is a fervid philatelist with a collection valued at 100 million pounds, or about $129 million, according to recent news reports.