BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, London – popularly known as ‘Neasden Temple’ – has featured in Royal Mail’s ‘Diversity and Community’ Coronation stamp, one of four new stamps in a set marking the new reign of His Majesty King Charles III.
Royal Mail, established in 1516 by King Henry VIII, design and produce all UK postage stamps, including special stamps, which celebrate important anniversaries and mark major national occasions and achievements. A set of special stamps to commemorate the coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla was introduced in May.
An artistic interpretation of the Mandir was chosen for inclusion in the ‘Diversity and Community’ stamp, which reflects the multi-faith community and the cultural diversity of contemporary British society, including some of the most iconic places of worship found around the country. It affirms Neasden Temple being an integral part of the religious landscape of the United Kingdom.
David Gold, Director of External Affairs and Public Policy at Royal Mail, was joined by Andrew Davidson, the stamps’ designer, and Ian Chilvers, design consultant at Atelier Works, at an inspiring community event at Neasden Temple on 24 May 2023 to formally present the ‘Diversity and Community’ Coronation stamp to His Holiness Mahant Swami Maharaj and the Hindu community.
In explaining the significance of this latest set of stamps, Mr Gold said, “It was indeed a challenge to produce a set of stamps worthy of a coronation that was happening after seven decades, and since this was only the third time in the Royal Mail’s over five hundred-year history that we were producing a set of stamps to mark a coronation, we realised we had to do something very special.”
Mr Gold went on to share the themes of the four stamps that are collectively titled ‘A New Reign.’ One stamp depicts the new monarch’s coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, with the other three representing issues that the King has championed over several decades of public service – the Commonwealth, the environment, and diversity.
He added, “With so many faiths, languages and cultures in this country, it was important to us that we depicted Neasden Temple, because besides from being a hugely important global architectural icon, it is also a beacon for what makes this country special.
“This is a place that opens its doors and opens its heart to all of us regardless of our faith or whether we have no faith at all. And so I am proud that we are here today to celebrate not only the King’s coronation, but the fact that a humble stamp that will be seen around the world also carries the imprint of this great temple.”
Mr Davidson, an internationally accomplished artist with a longstanding career in gouache paintings and wood engravings, shared his personal experience of designing the stamp. “As you may well imagine, the Diversity stamp was the hardest to design and the most sensitive, as all faiths which share this small island must be represented fairly and respectfully. From a personal point of view, I thought this temple was the most perfect to represent your faith.”