They may live in the public eye, but the British royals still keep much of their daily lives private—which is why it’s so exciting when, intentionally or not, one of them reveals a new piece of the family’s history. Case in point: Queen Elizabeth just gave us a glimpse of a never-before-seen family photo—though whether it was truly on purpose is anyone’s guess.
On Dec. 8, the Queen held a small ceremony at Windsor Castle for Thomas Trotter, a concert organist, whom she presented with The Queen’s Medal for Music. Also in attendance for the ceremony was Judith Weir, Master of the Queen’s Music.
The ceremony is significant because it was one of the first times Queen Elizabeth has welcomed visitors into Windsor since the extended period of rest prescribed by her doctors in October, who recommended only “light, desk-based duties” because of a back injury.
But it’s also significant because in the photos of the Queen welcoming Trotter, there’s a family photo on display that hasn’t been released to the public before.
In the photo, Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip are sitting on a gold couch, surrounded by the youngest royals. Princess Charlotte, still just a toddler at the time, is sitting on the Queen’s lap.
Also on the couch are Prince William and Kate Middleton’s eldest son Prince George (Prince Louis wouldn’t have been born at the time), as well as Isla and Savannah Phillips (the daughters of Peter Phillips, Princess Anne’s son and the Queen’s eldest grandchild) and Mia Tindall (daughter of Zara Tindall, Princess Anne’s daughter and the Queen’s eldest granddaughter).
“The photo appears to have been taken around the end of 2016,” People reports, “when Princess Charlotte would have been around 18 months and all the other young royals would have been between 2 and 6 years old — quite a brood to control, but clearly, the Queen and Philip had it under control!”
Another photo visible during Trotter’s ceremony was taken in 2018, and features the Queen holding an infant Prince Louis, and Prince Philip with six other great-grandchildren. The photo, taken by Kate Middleton at Balmoral, was shared by the Royal Family in the days after the Prince’s passing in April.
In addition to hosting Thomas Trotter this month, the 95-year-old Queen attended the christenings of great-grandsons August Brooksbank and Lucas Tindall, in a joint ceremony, on Nov. 21, and hosted Andrew Bailey, governor of the Bank of England, at Windsor Castle a few days later.
She’s expected to leave in the coming days for Sandringham to prepare for the family’s Christmas festivities.
Julie Tremaine is an award-winning food and travel writer who’s road tripping — and tasting — her way across the country. Her work appears in outlets like Vulture, Travel + Leisure, CNN Travel and Glamour, and she’s the Disneyland editor for SFGate. Read her work at Travel-Sip-Repeat.com.
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