Queen Elizabeth II invited 10 photographers to Buckingham Palace during her Golden Jubilee
The photographers were in charge of making new portraits
A photographer tells why the Queen refused his photo offer
Between her coronation and her death, which took place on September 8 in Balmoral, Scotland, the Queen of England has been photographed hundreds of thousands of times around the world. However, that did not always make the exercise easier, so Elizabeth II tried to control the context in which she was photographed as much as possible as soon as possible. As for example during his Golden Jubilee, in 2002, after 50 years of reign. On this occasion, the monarch invited 10 photographers to Buckingham Palace, to whom she asked to take her picture in order to draw new official portraits. Among these photographers, John Rankin Waddell, says Rankin, who recently confided in this historic moment in the podcast Tea with Twiggy.
After having photographed personalities such as Kate Moss, Madonna or David Bowie, the artist had the honor of meeting Elizabeth II to immortalize her and he wanted to share this very special moment. As he explains in the podcast, it was in the throne room of Buckingham Palace that Rankin took the photo, and he then added the flag of England, the famous Union Jack, in the background to finalize his work. . But in addition to this photo visible below, Rankin also asked Queen Elizabeth II to pose with a sword in her hands, and was met with a clear and flat refusal. “I don’t like my hands” replied the queen with humor.
Even without justification, it would have been difficult for Rankin to impose anything on the Queen of England in person. But the photographer acknowledged that speaking of her hands, Elizabeth II had found the most appropriate response for this kind of request. She may have reigned over the United Kingdom for more than half a century, but the sovereign also had her little complexes and preferred that certain parts of her body not be exposed. Yet Rankin still managed, without a shot of the queen holding a sword, to make one of the most successful photos of the session. Indeed, recently, on the occasion of an exhibition which brings together photos of the Queen through the decades, the curator sent her a note explaining that her portrait was one of the Queen’s favorites, because it This is a photo where she is actually laughing.
Rankin: “She was so smart”
What leave him with lasting memories of a woman who has become a historical figure for the whole world. “I have never felt an aura like hers. She was so funny, as soon as she came into the room. (…) What I loved was that she was so smart and everything she said had something surprising about it. It was really incredible”. The encounter was short but intense, and left the Queen and her admirers with an iconic photo of Elizabeth II that reflects a smile that is as sincere as it is contagious.
Queen Elizabeth II © Agency