Photographing Her Majesty

13 June 2016

The RPS Journal

June's RPS Journal celebrated Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday with Kate William's special feature, which showcased images of the monarch taken by Society members including Nick Danziger and Polly Borland. 

The Journal team received some incredible photographs from members but unfortunately due to the limited space of the magazine, we weren't able to include as many as we would have liked. 

Following the fun-filled events of Trooping the Colour this past weekend, we thought it was the perfect opportunity to showcase some of these remarkable images and reveal the intriguing stories behind them.


Huw Thomas

This snap was taken when I was 15 and a member of the Berkshire contingent at the 1957 scout jamboree in Sutton Park. I’m not sure of the camera, but it's on roll film about 1 3/4" wide. The photo has many faults but contains many characteristics of the era.


Margaret Whittaker LRPS

The Duchess of Northumberland invited Her Majesty The Queen & His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh to a special event she was hosting at The Alnwick Garden as a thank you to all carers and volunteers in the county.

I am a volunteer at Alnwick Castle and, amongst others things, am and have been their volunteer photographer for over 10 years. I was lucky enough to be chosen as one of eight volunteers to be introduced to Her Majesty.

Stationed at the main Garden entrance I was able to get some images of the Queen and the Duchess, who were accompanied by well-known footballer and deputy lieutentant, Alan Shearer.  

It was a wonderful day and I felt honoured to be involved, especially as I became a Queen’s Guide in the Girl Guides Association (Girl Guiding UK) when I was 16.


Julia Rafferty LRPS

In late 2009, it was decided that Thornham Village would benefit from a new hall on its new playing field. Various consultations, fund-raising events, grant applications and plenty of blood, sweat and tears ensued.

In 2012 Big Lottery Fund confirmed the award of just under £500,000 to part fund the hall. This, plus the sale of the Drill Hall site, several smaller grant awards and all the fund-raising efforts meant the hall could be built.

The hall was opened for business with a social for the village in September 2012. The crowning glory was when HM The Queen accepted an invitation and officially opened the hall on 28th January 2014.

The Bagladies of Thornham - a group of makers who since 2006 have raised over £40,000 to support village activities – presented the Queen with a specially made bag, which we are told she is delighted with.

Just before Christmas 2013 I had a phone call from a member of the Thornham village hall team who asked me if I would photograph The Queen when she opened the hall in January 2014. At first I thought this was a joke but I was delighted.

I’ve delivered photography classes for a number of years but on this occasion I was very nervous. I was told that I would need to be as inconspicuous as possible; no flash, no tripod, just record and don't get involved. On the day, my palms were sweaty and my hands were shaking, but I was fairly pleased with the shots that I managed to capture.


Jaffer Bhimji LRPS

The picture of HM The Queen was taken on a Derby day way back in 1963 – I was 19, the Queen, 37. I had just purchased a Russian-made Zenit SLR camera and decided to take on a test drive to the Derby Day in Epsom.

As we were having our picnic, my girlfriend Carole (now my wife) casually pointed out to the Royal procession just behind me. I managed to get quite close and photographed the entire Royal family including the Queen mother, the Duke of Edinburgh and Princess Margaret.


Ashley Franklin ARPS

As the official photographer for the Derby Cathedral Quarter in April 2010, I was commissioned to shoot the Queen’s visit to Derby Cathedral for the Royal Maundy. 

I don’t think I’ve ever been so anxious about a photo shoot.  This was one of the biggest days in the Cathedral’s long history and the sense of responsibility starting weighing down on me.

I fretted and panicked – a bit too much because I was close to turning the job down due to the strain I was under - but I managed to pull myself together. I felt much better after asking fellow photographer, Ian Daisley, to help me out with the logistics. 

My anxiety was quelled after taking one of my first photos of Her Majesty as she entered the Cathedral. She had a smile that suggested she was positively looking forward to the occasion and I thought, ‘She’s really up for this.’ As I looked at that image on my LCD monitor, I smiled to myself, I’m up for this too,’ I decided.  


Jill Packenham FRPS

I took this photograph in June 2012 at Hatfield House, Hertfordshire. Her Majesty had been invited to plant one of the trees in new woodland created on the Estate to commemorate her Diamond Jubilee.