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The "R. H. OFFICIAL" Overprints Of The Royal Households.

Mail from Royal Households has long been of fascination to many people, with non-philatelists interested in the contents of letters and messages on cards, postal historians concerned with the postal markings and cachets, and of course philatelists interested in the departmental official overprints on stamps.

Members of the Royal Family and certain members of the Royal Household did not use stamps for their correspondence but usually initialled or signed the bottom left hand corner of the envelope, together with a royal monogram handstamp or departmental certifying handstamp.

This continued to be the case even after the introduction in 1902 of ½d and 1d stamps overprinted "R.H. / OFFICIAL". These stamps were intended for the more distant offices of the Royal Household including The Inspector of the Palace of Holyrood house, Buckingham Palace, the Housekeepers at Windsor Castle and Frogmore, the Examiner of Plays, Paymaster of the Royal Households, Gentlemen of the Royal Cellars (sounds like a great job!) and the Royal Laundry at Richmond.

If higher denomination stamps were required the "Government Parcels" overprinted stamps were usually available. Royal Household stamps, along with all Official stamps, were withdrawn on 13 May 1904 and only two stamps are required for total completion of the "R.H. OFFICIAL" section of your collection!

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