Queen Elizabeth II: Royal Family marks one-year anniversary

A year after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, Buckingham Palace is memorialising the historic day by releasing a never-before-seen picture of the late queen, initially taken in October 1968 by Cecil Beaton. The Royal Family, the U.K. and the world are marking the one-year anniversary of the late queen.

“In marking the first anniversary of Her late Majesty’s death and my Accession, we recall with great affection her long life, devoted service, and all she meant to so many of us,” her son King Charles said in a statement. “I am deeply grateful, too, for the love and support that has been shown to my wife and myself during this year as we do our utmost to be of service to you all.”

In the portrait, the 42-year-old Queen Elizabeth wears full royal regalia, including a velvet cape and the Vladimir tiara. (The unmistakable diadem highlights crossing circles set with splendid diamonds and paw set pendant pearls.) She gives the camera — and Beaton — a grin. 

The picture was first shown momentarily in an exhibition of Beaton’s portraits at the National Portrait Gallery in November 1968. (At that point, it was the first retrospective of a living photographer in a British Museum,) When the show finished in March 1969, the photograph returned to the archives — and has at no point ever been displayed again until now. 

The photograph likewise bears a critical social effect: Beaton was the first photographer of the British Royal Family, capturing the Windsors’ from the 1930s through the 1970s. He originally captured the then-Queen Elizabeth in 1942 for her sixteenth birthday celebration. (“The youthful princess I photographed that day has now become a Queen of remarkable qualities. Her unique legacy has made her a person apart, and the training to play the role of sovereign is today evident in the increasing authority of her personality,” Beaton wrote in a 1953 essay for British Vogue.)  

However, when Beaton died, his achievements were a large number. His long-standing agreement with Vogue had established his identity as one of the 20th century’s most significant fashion and portrait photographic artists, regardless of whether his ability was nowhere near solid: he also held Academy Awards for both production and costume design. In any case, the New York Times opined that Queen Elizabeth remained his “most illustrious sitter.” With this rare photo, the world is reminded of his legacy. 

When Queen Elizabeth died on Sep. 8, 2022, at the age of 96, she was the longest-ruling monarch in the history of the U.K. It was one of the 21st century’s most memorable moments. Condolences poured in from all the world leaders. The U.K. observed a 10-day mourning, while outside Westminster Abbey, people were queued up to pay their respects to the Queen.

The Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate and the Prime Minister of the U.K. Rishi Sunak also took to their social media to pay tributes to the late Queen.

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