Her late Majesty was one of the most photographed women in the world, but there was one body part she hated having photographed, a top photographer reveals: her hands.
Leading photographer Rankin was one of 10 photographers invited to take the Queen’s picture for her Golden Jubilee back in 2002, and later revealed on the “Tea with Twiggy” podcast, per Hello!, that meeting Her late Majesty was unlike any experience he’d never had before.
“Of course, she came in, and this wave of empowerment washes over you,” he says in the interview, recorded before the Queen’s death on September 8. “I’ve never felt that aura, and she was just so funny from the minute she walked in. I was like, ‘I really want to photograph you holding the sword,’ and she said, ‘I don’t like my hands.’ [I thought] that’s the best ‘get out’ for holding the sword. I’m probably not supposed to say that.”
Rankin says, while he only spent five minutes with her, “what I loved about her is she’s so smart and everything in response that she was saying had this amazing twist to it. It was just really, really brilliant.”
He also revealed that, before the shoot, he saw the Queen laughing and joking with a footman, which was something he sought to capture. “I was in the Throne Room and she was walking down this corridor and I could see her and the footman walking,” he says, via The Times (opens in new tab). “They were both laughing, just cracking up, and I was like, ‘That’s what I want.’ So that was in my head the whole time.”
He later “got a really amazing note where the curator said my photograph of her is one of their favorites—which I think means the Palace’s favorite—because she’s really laughing in my picture.”
We still miss those laughs.
Rachel Burchfield is a writer whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family. In addition to serving as the royal editor at Marie Claire, she has worked with publications like Vogue, Vanity Fair, ELLE, Harper’s Bazaar, and more. She cohosts Podcast Royal, a show that provides candid commentary on the biggest royal family headlines and offers segments on fashion, beauty, health and wellness, and lifestyle.
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