The official coronation photos of Britain’s King Charles III were released this week. published. Although the new monarch promised a more “modern” establishment, is it possible to tell the difference between his predecessors?
Following the coronation of King Charles on May 6, Buckingham Palace this week released the official photos of the new monarch and his wife Camilla, who was crowned at his side.
While Charles himself described it as a “more modern” affair, the ceremony, held at London’s Westminster Abbey, was steeped in tradition and set to Latin music. The photos taken after the event don’t exactly scream ‘modern’ either – but they tell us a lot more about the royal family than previous images.
For centuries, the British royal family has commissioned artists to paint newly crowned monarchs, and the first official photograph ever was taken of Edward VII, who succeeded his longtime mother, Queen Victoria, and was crowned in 1902.
Thanks in part to the proliferation of social media, the majority of the world knows that the relationship between Charles’ youngest son Prince Harry and the rest of the family is a little strained and that he is not in the photo with the rest of the ‘working royals’. is too obvious.
Harry attended the coronation service – albeit without his wife Meghan, who remained in her adopted home of California – but is said to have left immediately afterwards to rejoin his two children.
On Friday May 12, Buckingham Palace released another photo from the occasion. This one features Charles’ elder son William, who is now first in line to the throne, and his own son George, who will eventually assume the role of monarch from his father.
The family drama notwithstanding, the photos show the royals in all their gilded glory. They were taken by photographer Hugo Burnand, who has long been a favorite photographer of King Charles. He told that New York Times He wanted the images to feel intimate and for anyone around the world to feel like they were “perhaps having a one-to-one conversation” with the king.
Burnard also shot the official photo for King Charles’ 60th birthday and the wedding of Prince William and Princess Kate in 2011. However, he almost missed the chance to work so closely with the royals.
In 2005, the current King and Queen approached him to photograph their wedding, but he initially declined after he was robbed during a trip to Bolivia. Burnard quickly changed his mind and said he was grateful for it – because he’s been in constant demand ever since.
While Charles’s coronation was the first “social media coronation” in British history, and its attendees were immortalized through countless memes and photo edits, the coronation of the late Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 went down in history as the first coronation ever , which was televised in its entirety.
In the UK alone, 27 million people watched the show – many bought a TV for the occasion – and millions more around the world, making it the first must-watch program in history.
The now iconic official coronation portrait of Queen Elizabeth was taken by photographer Cecil Beaton, famous for shooting stars like Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly and Elizabeth Taylor. The image is rather cinematic, and that’s not surprising considering the late monarch was actually photographed against the artificial backdrop of Westminster Abbey, rather than inside the magnificent building itself.
Although the session marked a high point in Beaton’s career, he wrote in his journal that the photoshoot was challenging given the pressure and time constraints, and recalled: “I only had a vague idea of whether I was shooting black and white or color, right give the right exposures”.
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth’s father George VI. took place on May 12, 1937 and was the first coronation to be filmed at all, although no part of the action was filmed in Westminster Abbey itself. However, in keeping with the technologies of the time, it was broadcast on radio and the photos provided by Buckingham Palace were one of the only ways the general public could get a glimpse of their new monarch and his family.
The photos were taken by two artists, Dorothy Wilding and Hay Wrightson. After the event, Wilding explained that since his robes were so huge, she had to stand about twenty feet away from the new king to get his full outfit in the picture.