LONDON: The government insisted it is closing a loophole that could see Queen Elizabeth II's head removed from stamps if the Royal Mail national postal service is sold to a foreign firm.
The monarch's head, facing left, has appeared on adhesive postage stamps since their invention with the 1840 "Penny Black", featuring queen Victoria.
The current standard stamps, drawn up in 1967 by Alan Machin, are considered a design classic and a defining icon of Britain.
Her Majesty's Government is in talks with Buckingham Palace after realising that the legislation paving the way for the Royal Mail to be sold off failed explicitly to guarantee the Queen's head would remain on the stamps.
The bill gives Queen Elizabeth a veto over any use of her image but does not insist that her head is shown, as per tradition.
Postal services minister Ed Davey found the loophole but said he was sure a solution could be found before the law passes through parliament.