Royal wedding: Niue defends stamp that 'splits' couple

Stamp issued by New Zealand Post to commemorate the royal wedding The stamps were designed and printed by New Zealand Post

The leader of the Pacific nation of Niue has mounted a robust defence of stamps marking Britain's royal wedding which have a perforated line that splits the happy couple.

Premier Toke Talagi admitted the stamps were "unusual" but said they showed Niue was celebrating the marriage.

The stamps are sold as a pair for NZ$5.80 ($4.53, £2.79), but can be torn down the middle.

Prince William's stamp is NZ$3.40 and Kate Middleton's is cheaper at NZ$2.40.

The stamps were designed and printed by New Zealand Post.

Niue, although self-governing, is in free association with New Zealand. All Niueans are New Zealand citizens and Queen Elizabeth II is their head of state.

Ivor Masters, the general manager of stamps and coins at New Zealand Post, said the stamps were collectors' items and so unlikely to be separated for postage.

And Mr Talagi said he saw nothing wrong with them.

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"People indicated the stamps... meant the couple will separate in future. I don't know why they would interpret it that way," he told AFP news agency.

"I don't think it means that. I think it means we're very happy celebrating the royal marriage."

The stamps might even draw tourists to Niue, he added, because people would want to see where they were from.

The royal wedding takes place in London on 29 April.

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