Today, Her Majesty, the Royal Family, and the entire Commonwealth celebrated the Queen's 90th birthday. It is an impressive milestone and it touchingly marked via a number of family centered photos and special tv programs, in addition to a host of live events which you may have followed in the UK. Among the various released photos was this shot of the Queen with her great-grandchildren and two youngest grandchildren taken by Annie Leibovitz.
Obviously, some of the excitement of this picture focused on the two little Cmabridges. Princess Charlotte got pride of place sitting in the lap of the Queen, which according to the picture byline is a royal tradition, while the future little king stood close by. I will just jump out and admit I was disappointed in this photo. I appreciate the stylistic elements--the juxtaposition of the colors of the room and the colors of the figures, and contrast of the grand surroundings of the Green Drawing Room at Windsor with the relaxed ensembles and artsy stances of the children, and I of course acknowledge the sweet, human aspect of the happy Queen surrounded by her grandchildren...but. I thought it was too much. Really, I think it was the color contrast that bothers me.
I love how George has maintained his thoughtful intensity. It has been his trademark from his infancy--that first unimpressed look he gave the rainy Wellington tarmac--and I absolutely love it. He seems very observant and intelligent. The little prince is a little more bubbly, although no less cherubic, in the postage stamps released to commemorate the Queen's birthday, which feature four generations of the monarchy:
This photo looks a little odd until you see the way the Royal Mail portioned it to work for individual stamps:
The Telegraph ran a fascinating piece after chatting with the photographer Ronald Mackechnie. In the piece he described working with Prince George:
He was absolutely charming, as you can see from the picture. You only have a short window of opportunity with small children, but Prince George was on good form and everyone seemed to enjoy seeing him enjoy the day. He was fascinated by my lights and all the kit, and he was quite happy standing on the blocks. I took maybe 80 or 100 shots, but when I saw this one I knew straight away that was it.Getting the positioning was an arduous task:
Because the picture was going to be turned into stamps on a sheet, each person’s head had to be in exactly the right place. A millimetre the wrong way on the final stamp sheet would have made the perforations too close together, so I had to make sure everyone was spaced the right distance apart.”He had computer monitors in the room with templates of the final stamp sheet so he could make sure each person’s head fitted into the right frame.Buckingham Palace had supplied Prince George’s exact height so he could work out how to get his face a similar height to the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge.
The entire article is so interesting and I encourage you to read it here. The Queen concluded her birthday with a family dinner at Windsor Castle. William, Harry, and Kate were photographed by Niraj Tanna leaving Kensington Palace. Kate is sitting between the two guys, which I find amusing and charming at the same time.
Niraj had a bit of a run-in with royal protection officers who weren't thrilled the photographer was hanging around getting snaps.
Apparently, he told the protection officers that he wasn't fascinated by the royals, just good at his job. Since Tanna is one of, if not the, foremost royal paparazzo and this would be a night you'd expect to catch a glimpse of the royals on the way to Windsor, it seems unlikely the PPOs don't know Tanna and a silly question to be asking. Not a good tone to set on what was a such a joyful day.
In any event, Kate seems to be wearing a green dress, but it has also been suggested that it is black. Some are hoping a few commemorative shots will be released, but since we have had several family shots already, I doubt we will see any photos immediately. More likely they will filter out as the Diplomatic Reception images have, but we shall see!
See you tomorrow as William and Kate are hosting the President and First Lady for dinner at Kensington Palace.