Royal photographs can be widely considered as important historical artefacts – similar in fashion to the painted portrait of a renaissance monarch, portraits of the British royal family hold significance and value.
Few selected photographers have been granted the honor of photographing her majesty Queen Elizabeth II (British photographer Rankin is one of them (opens in new tab)) but in a current exhibition Life Through A Royal Lens (opens in new tab) at Kensington Palace in London, visitors are able to see iconic images of the royal family spanning from the 19th century right up until the present day.
The exhibition includes Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s patronage of photography during its infancy to a few more intimate family portraits that have rarely been in the public eye.
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Portraits by Annie Leibovitz, striking photographs featuring the Duchess of Cambridge by Paolo Roversi, shots by Chris Levine, Norman Parkinson, Rankin and film contact sheets of the young Queen Elizabeth II by Sir Cecil Beaton, all portray a renowned stoic collection of images that adequately represented the royal family throughout each generation.
See and hear some of the photographers talking about their experience of photographing the Queen in the official video below.
The exhibition, which was postponed from its original opening in 2020, examines the evolution of the British royal Family's image across three centuries. The enduring relationship between the royals and the camera is explored from the reign of Queen Victoria up until the present day.(opens in new tab)
A selection of images taken by Royal Family members themselves are included in the exhibition, and these include works by Antony Armstrong-Jones (later Lord Snowdon, husband of Princess Margaret) who has previously executed some of the most revealing and modern images of monarchy. Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, is an avid photographer herself (opens in new tab) and patron of the Royal Photographic Society (opens in new tab).
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The exhibition will be on show at Kensington Palace until October 30 2022, so it could be one to add to your list if you're in London before then. Tickets are available here (opens in new tab).
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