The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years

The Braemar Gathering, Deeside
Release date: 
Sunday, 22 July 2012

The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse
16 November - 24 February 2013

Sixty photographs of Her Majesty The Queen go on display at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee.  The exhibition includes the work of leading press photographers of the past six decades and presents a portrait of The Queen’s reign as captured in fleeting moments on both official occasions and at relaxed family gatherings.  Also on display is the official Diamond Jubilee portrait of The Queen, taken in the Centre Room at Buckingham Palace in December 2011.

For centuries, the formal painted portrait projected the public face of kings and queens.  With the advent of photography, the boundaries between the officially approved and the spontaneously captured image of the monarch were irreversibly blurred.  Today, through the reach of modern media, the image of The Queen is familiar to millions around the world.

Her Majesty’s reign has spanned the appointment of 12 British Prime Ministers and 12 Presidents of the United States.  In 1961 President John F Kennedy and First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy were photographed with The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh when they dined together at Buckingham Palace.  A striking photograph from 2005 captures The Queen and former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in silhouette on Her Majesty’s arrival at Lady Thatcher’s 80th birthday celebrations.

The many regional visits made by The Queen, most often accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh, have been covered by press photographers over 60 years.  A charming black-and-white photograph records the royal couple’s departure by train at Spondon station in Derbyshire in March 1957.  Her Majesty has travelled more than any other sovereign in history and since 1952 has undertaken over 250 official visits to 131 different countries.  Colourful photographs document trips overseas, including a visit to Mexico in 1975, to the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu in 1982, India in 1983 and to Canada in 2010.

Every year Her Majesty carries out hundreds of duties as Head of State, Head of the Commonwealth, Supreme Governor of the Church of England, Head of the British Armed Forces, and Patron of around 600 charities.  The exhibition includes images of The Queen at the State Opening of Parliament, leading the nation on Remembrance Day, in the Garter Day procession at Windsor, hosting Heads of State and carrying out the Investiture of The Prince of Wales in 1969.  In December 2006 The Queen attended The Sovereign’s Parade and inspected the graduating officer cadets at Sandhurst, among them her grandson, Prince William.

Important milestones in The Queen’s personal life have been caught on camera by photographers, both officially and unofficially.  The exhibition includes a striking black-and-white portrait of The Queen taken to mark Her Majesty’s 80th birthday by fellow octogenarian Jane Bown.  In contrast, an informal photograph shows The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh outside St Paul’s Cathedral on the occasion of the Service of Thanksgiving in 2006.  An image from August 1985 captures The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh with their children and grandchildren on their annual cruise of the Western Isles in Scotland on board HMY Britannia.  It was taken by ‘Snaps’, the name given to the royal yachtsman whose role it was to keep a photographic record of special events aboard.

Over the past 60 years photographers have recorded The Queen pursuing her personal interests in off-duty moments, particularly her life-long love of equestrianism.  Throughout her reign she has been Patron of the Royal Windsor Horse Show and has attended Royal Ascot every summer since 1945.  In an image from 1957 Her Majesty leads in her filly Carrozza, with Lester Piggott in the saddle, after winning the Oaks race at Epsom.  In two photographs from the 1960s The Queen and members of the Royal Family are seen watching competitors at Badminton Horse Trials – in one Her Majesty was captured photographing the action herself. 

The Queen spends every summer at Balmoral in Aberdeenshire and in June 1974 was photographed with several of her dogs as she arrived at Aberdeen Airport for the start of her holiday.  During their stay in Scotland members of the Royal Family attend the nearby Braemar Gathering, which includes caber-tossing, stone-putting and highland dancing.  In September 2006 a photographer captured The Queen enjoying the activities alongside The Duke and Duchess of Rothesay.
Notes to Editors
Most of the exhibition The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years has been selected from photographs submitted by the Royal Rota photographic organisations: NPA, NS, IPA, CPNA and WPA.  These organisations allocate passes for media positions at Royal events and engagements.

Tickets and visitor information: The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, or +44 (0131 556 5100.

For further information and photographs, please contact the Royal Collection Press Office, +44 (0)20 7839 1377, A selection of images is also available from