Niue defends stamps that part Wills and Kate
The Pacific nation of Niue on Tuesday defended "unusual" royal wedding stamps which raised eyebrows around the world by splitting Prince William from his bride-to-be Kate Middleton.
The stamps, approved by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, have a perforated line between the royal couple. Together they are worth NZ$5.80 (US$4.53) but when separated the prince is worth $3.40 and Middleton a cheaper $2.40.
Niue Premier Toke Talagi said he had received plenty of feedback from around the world since the stamps were issued last month with people saying they found them "unusual".
"People indicated the stamps, made by New Zealand Post, meant the couple will separate in future. I don't know why they would interpret it that way," Talagi told AFP.
"I don't think it means that. I think it means we're very happy celebrating the royal marriage."
However, Talagi said the stamps could be a tourism boost for the country, which occupies a 260 square-kilometre (100-square-mile) coral island in the south Pacific and has a population of just 1,400.
"I suspect in future a lot of people will come here to see where the stamps are from."
New Zealand Post said on its website they "capture the royal couple as we so often see them -- graceful, composed and very much in love".
The general manager of stamps, Ivor Masters, told New Zealand's TV3 news that the stamps were collectors' items and it was unlikely they would be torn apart for postage.
Simon O'Conner, chairman of the pro-royalist Monarchy New Zealand organisation, described the stamps as "slightly strange" but not insulting.
"The monarchy has thick skin and they would even have a sense of humour about it," O'Connor told the New Zealand Herald.
The president of the New Zealand Stamp Collectors club, Steven McLachlan, said he expected the stamps would prove popular.
"People from all around the world will buy this stamp in big quantities and they will love it."
© 2011 AFP