Buckingham Palace Releases Striking Portraits from King and Queen’s Coronation Day

Buckingham Palace has released two new official portraits from the King and Queen’s coronation day, one of which captures the new line of succession. The striking image shows His Majesty, 74, on a throne chair in full regalia, with his two heirs, the Prince of Wales and Prince George, standing on either side of him. Dressed in the purple velvet and ermine-caped Robe of Estate, and wearing the Imperial State Crown, the monarch holds the Sovereign’s Orb and Sceptre with Cross, part of the regalia that had featured in the historic ceremony earlier in the day. Prince William, in the ceremonial dress uniform of the Welsh Guards and the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle sash on top of his robes, smiles into the camera, while George looks happy following his impeccable performance in the Abbey. Against the rich red and gold backdrop of the Throne Room, the picture beautifully portrays the institution’s new era following the death of Queen Elizabeth II last September.

The Royal Photographer’s Take

The photos are two of six official images taken by acclaimed royal photographer Hugo Burnand, the only portrait photographer to be given a Royal Warrant. Four were released on Bank Holiday Monday after a weekend of celebrations, which included a star-studded coronation concert at Windsor Castle. Hugo, who has previously been entrusted to take the official photos for the King and Queen’s wedding in 2005 and for the Prince and Princess of Wales in 2011, believes the photo of the King and his heirs is unique. He says he did a lot of research in the archives of past coronations and did not see any previous pictures of the line of succession. “While we have seen pictures of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William and Prince George, never have we seen them in the throne room with all the regalia,” he says. “There’s a lot of formality in that picture. But I think that I’ve managed to show the essence of the individuals at the same time, which to me makes it not just a historical document, but also a portrait.”

The second portrait shows the King and Queen alongside Her Majesty’s Ladies in Attendance, her sister Annabel Elliot and her good friend, the Marchioness of Lansdowne, as well as George and Camilla’s own pages, her grandsons Freddy Parker Bowles and Louis and Gus Lopes, and her great-nephew Arthur Elliot. Her Majesty is wearing the Queen Mary’s Crown, which was used for her coronation, while the rich purple velvet train of her Robe of Estate, hand-embroidered with the national emblems of the United Kingdom, as well as plants and wildlife, falls on the steps below. Princess Charlotte, eight, and Prince Louis, five, also “milling around” in the room made for a lively atmosphere, and Hugo reveals he kept his jar of jellybeans nearby.


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