Wednesday, March 21, 2012
A Previously Unpublished Photo
This year is the Queen's 60th year as a reigning monarch, and this photo was taken just a few weeks after her father, King George VI, died. The photograph was taken by a photographer named Kenneth Clayton, and it has remained hidden until now. Only a handful of people knew the photo existed. I like the photo because it is a young woman still grieving the death of her father, and it shows her vulnerability. The photo is unretouched, and if you look closely you can see the imperfections.
I rather like the Queen. She has presided over a particularly interesting period of history in the 20th and 21st centuries. The Queen has known 156 Commonwealth Prime Ministers during her reign and 12 United States Presidents. She is in her 80s, she is still working hard, and she has had an unfaltering sense of duty. Times change, and the monarchy is in many ways becoming a thing of the past. I like the concept of a constitutional monarchy, but I do believe the Queen will be the last of the great reigning monarchs. If the Queen lives as long as her mother did, her son Charles will be a very old man when he inherits the throne, and his son, William, will be well into middle age. Queen Elizabeth II will join the other two great monarchs -- Queen Elizabeth I and Queen Victoria -- as the longest reigning monarchs, all great queens and all three presiding over the most interesting and innovative periods in history. And when this photograph was taken, it was all stretching before her, as yet unfamiliar territory for a young woman of 26.