The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years

Release date: 
Monday, 19 December 2011

The Drawings Gallery, Windsor Castle                             
4 February – 28 October 2012

Sixty photographs of Her Majesty The Queen, including the work of leading press photographers of the past six decades, will go on display at Windsor Castle to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. The exhibition presents a portrait of The Queen’s reign as captured in fleeting moments on both official occasions and at relaxed family gatherings.  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.  In 1982 The Queen and President Ronald Reagan were pictured riding side by side in the Home Park at Windsor during the President’s stay at Windsor Castle. 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.

Photographs taken around the United Kingdom show The Queen’s personal involvement in the life of the nation through her many regional visits, most often accompanied by The Duke of Edinburgh.  A charming black-and-white photograph records the royal couple’s arrival by train at Derby Midland station 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.

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, and in 1962 Her Majesty was captured photographing the action herself.  The Queen is again seen taking a photograph while at the Royal Windsor Horse Show in 1978.

The Queen’s love of animals is also well documented in the exhibition. On 25 January 1959 Her Majesty is working at her desk with a corgi at her feet; in August 1974 she arrives at Aberdeen Airport with several of her dogs for the start of her holiday at Balmoral in Scotland; and in May 1998 The Queen is reunited with Watney, one of the dorgis she has bred.

The exhibition The Queen: 60 Photographs for 60 Years is part of a visit to Windsor Castle.  Tickets and visitor information: or +44 (0)20 7766 7304.

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.

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

Admission to Windsor Castle is managed by the Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity in England and Wales (1016972) and in Scotland (SCO39772).