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Freddie Mercury Stamp Under Fire

June 3, 1999

LONDON (AP) _ A commemorative stamp depicting Freddie Mercury has drawn objections from critics who call it inappropriate for the Royal Mail to feature the flamboyant singer.

The stamps honoring Mercury, the late lead singer of Queen, are part of a series noting Britain’s various achievements during the last millennium. But some people have objected to the inclusion of a bisexual who died of AIDS.

``The queen we would rather see on our postage stamps is not stripped to the waist and wearing spray-on red trousers,″ columnist Simon Heffer wrote last week in the tabloid Daily Mail.

Heffer attacked the stamp as a ``vulgar″ commemoration of a star ``whose degenerate lifestyle caused him to die of AIDS at an unfortunately early age.″

Others objected because a tiny portion of the stamp also shows Queen drummer Roger Taylor, which violates the Royal Mail’s rule that only members of the royal family are depicted on stamps during their lifetimes.

The Royal Mail issued a statement standing by the stamp, which went on sale Tuesday, saying the organization was proud to have Mercury depicted.

``Every stamp is approved by the queen, including this one, which was also given the consent of Freddie Mercury’s family and by Mr. Taylor,″ the statement said.

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