Royal mail

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Just ask Queen Elizabeth II.

The monarch recently received a letter and photo from Katelyn Sutherland, a Kentucky mom whose young daughter, Jalayne, dressed as the queen for Halloween. It seems Elizabeth liked what she saw — so much so that she instructed one of her aides to respond.

“The Queen wishes me to write and thank you for your letter, and for the photograph you thoughtfully enclosed,” wrote Mary Morrison, a lady-in-waiting for Elizabeth. “Her Majesty thought it kind of you to write her, and The Queen was pleased to see the photograph of your daughter, Jalayne, in her splendid outfit.”

Katelyn wrote to the queen in November after seeing press reports that the 95-year-old monarch wasn’t feeling well.

Katelyn included a photo of Jalayne, who was 1 at the time, wearing her costume fit for a queen: a blue overcoat, coiffed wig, proper hat and pearls. In the image, she is accompanied by her pets Rascal and Jack, a pair of corgis — the same dog breed that is beloved by members of the House of Windsor.

Katelyn said she hoped the note, which included Jalayne’s little handprint and Rascal’s and Jack’s pawprints as a signature, would lift the queen’s spirits.

Imagine her surprise when she received a royal response.

“As I was filtering through the mail one day this past December, I stopped and tried to control my excitement,” Katelyn said.

She carefully opened the envelope with the Windsor Castle seal and found the letter from Morrison, written on stationery bearing the castle’s insignia.

Katelyn’s idea to dress her daughter as the queen was inspired by Jalayne’s friendship with Rascal and Jack.

“Jalayne gives the dogs their treats, so they are always by her side. And when you think of the queen, you think of her corgis,” she said.

Katelyn and her husband, Aaron, view the letter as a birthday present for Jalayne, who turned 2 on Dec. 30. When they show images of Queen Elizabeth II to Jalayne, the little girl responds with a royal wave.

Jalayne, who also loves to retrieve her family’s mail from the box, has USPS ties: Her great-grandfather was a postal worker in the Cincinnati area.

When Katelyn received correspondence from Windsor Castle, she posted images of Jalayne and the letter on social media — leading to a wave of news coverage around the globe.

“Our daughter brings us such joy,” Katelyn said. “And it makes me smile to hear that the story and photos we shared are bringing joy to others.”

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Sculpting a life

A stamp honoring 19th-century sculptor Edmonia Lewis — the 45th in the Black Heritage series — will be released Jan. 26.

Lewis, the first African American and Native American sculptor to earn international recognition, challenged social barriers and assumptions about artists in mid-19th-century America.

Born in Greenbush, NY, in 1844, she spent most of her career in Rome, where her studio became a must-see attraction for American tourists.

In addition to portrait busts of prominent people, Lewis’s work incorporated African American themes, including the celebration of newly won freedoms, and sensitively depicted her Native American heritage as peaceful and dignified.

A Roman Catholic, Lewis also received several religious commissions.

The work she produced during her prolific career evokes the complexity of her social identity and reflects the passion and independence of her artistic vision.

The image on the stamp is based on a portrait painted by Augustus Marshall in Boston sometime between 1864 and 1871. Antonio Alcalá was art director, with artwork by Alex Bostic.

The Edmonia Lewis stamp will be available in Post Offices nationwide and at