NOT many people can say they have designed a limited edition Royal Mail stamp commissioned by the Queen.

But one passionate architect, who grew up in Eastwood Road, Leigh, and later lived in Commonhall Lane, in Hadleigh, is celebrating after he was picked to design a limited edition stamp of Buckingham Palace.

Chris Draper, 41, was first approached in 2012 to design a stamp of the Queen’s London residence.

He said: “I was called at the beginning of 2012 by a graphic designer who was putting a bid together for the Buckingham Palace stamps. I produced a test sample of an interior of Buckingham Palace, and that was pretty much it.

“I didn't hear anything for several months and thought this one might not happen.

“I was then called by a different graphic designer, Howard Brown, who said that he had won the bid and the Royal Mail had recommended that I should paint the Palace.”

Chris then dedicated much of his time to designing the perfect stamp, for the limited edition collection.

He said: “Buckingham Palace is one of very few buildings that is known around the world, so I thought I had better do it justice.

“It’s a very complex building when you first look at it; however with classical architecture once you study it, you find a very clear order and logic. Painting it was an absolute pleasure.”

Chris was particularly pleased by the fact that the stamp was approved by the Queen.

He said: “A good bonus was that I knew the stamp was approved by the Queen, because ultimately the Queen commissions all stamps, which is quite good!”

A limited edition of the stamp was sold out in a matter of days, and the original now forms part of the royal collection and will be housed in the Royal Mail archive for generations to come.

Chris said: “I think the sales of this particular set of stamps have been very high. I know from personal experience that getting hold of them from the local post office was really difficult.

“I have also been asked to do a special set of signed first day covers for "Buckingham Covers"

who put together collectors’ editions.

“They will give £525 to a charity of my choice, which I’ve chosen to be the Forces Children’s Trust, and this is a huge unforeseen bonus.”

Chris found his passion for painting and drawing at a very young age and was able to pursue his dream while studying at Southend Technical College.

He was then one of a few students accepted on a foundation in architecture and the building arts course at the Prince of Wales’ Institute of Architecture, in Regents Park.

Mr Draper added: “There were 20 students from around the world and the Prince would often pop in to the school in Regents Park to see how we were getting on. It was fantastic!”

He then continued his studies at Portsmouth University with a degree in architecture and now works on a freelance basis.