Charles and Di, Prince William and North Korea

How did the Duke of Cambridge end up on a series of North Korean stamps? Our new book explains
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North Korean commemorative stamp sets featuring the British Royal Family. As featured in Made in North Korea
North Korean commemorative stamp sets featuring the British Royal Family. As featured in Made in North Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea might be one of the most isolated countries in the world, yet popular world news stories still find their way into the country’s visual culture.

“A wide range of commemorative postage stamps depicting various foreign people and historical events are issued in North Korea,” explains author and North Korea expert Nicholas Bonner in our forthcoming book Made in North Korea: Graphics from Everyday Life in the DPRK. “Some of the more unexpected ones include these sets that feature the British Royal family produced in 1982 to mark the birth of Prince William.”

 

North Korean commemorative stamp sets featuring the British Royal Family. As featured in Made in North Korea
North Korean commemorative stamp sets featuring the British Royal Family. As featured in Made in North Korea

One might expect to find local dignitaries gracing the country’s letters, yet as Bonner explains, “images of North Korean leaders are venerated and would never be shown on any products other than books they have penned themselves.”

 

North Korean commemorative stamp sets featuring the British Royal Family. As featured in Made in North Korea
North Korean commemorative stamp sets featuring the British Royal Family. As featured in Made in North Korea

Instead, the country’s stamps are decorated with a wide range of images. “Other subjects for stamp sets include sporting events, landmark dates in history and meetings between the DPRK’s leaders and overseas presidents,” Bonner writes, “all of which are issued for collections as well as validated for practical use, domestically and internationally.”

For a longer look behind at this singular country’s design culture order a copy of Made in North Korea here.


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