First official portraits of Queen Elizabeth from 1952 — Stock Photo

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022

On February 26, 1952, just 20 days after Queen Elizabeth II ascended the British throne, she granted a photo session with photographer Dorothy Wilding. The 59 photos Wilding took that day of Queen Elizabeth became an essential part of the new monarch’s public image, as they were used as on postage stamps and were sent to British embassies around the world whole.

queen elizabeth ii photographed by dorothy wilding
Queen Elizabeth II, photographed by Dorothy Wilding.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022

queen elizabeth ii photographed by dorothy wilding
Queen Elizabeth II, photographed by Dorothy Wilding.

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022

In some photos, the Queen wears single pearl earrings and the South African necklace, a 21st birthday gift from the South African government in 1947.

In other portraits, she wears the Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara, which Princess Victoria Mary of Teck (later Queen Mary) received as a wedding gift when she married the future King George V in 1893. Queen Mary then gave the tiara to Princess Elizabeth as a gift on her own wedding day in 1947. It remains one of Queen Elizabeth’s favorite tiaras to this day.

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This series was not the first time Wilding photographed royalty; she photographed various members of the royal family and a young Princess Elizabeth with her family.

princess elizabeth and princess margaret photographed by dorothy wilding in 1946
Princess Elizabeth (L) and Princess Margaret (R), photographed by Dorothy Wilding in 1946.

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queen elizabeth, mother of queen elizabeth
Queen Elizabeth, 9 December 1946. Photograph by Dorothy Wilding

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king george vi, queen elizabeth, princess elizabeth and princess margaret in a 1946 photograph by dorothy wilding
King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in a 1946 photograph by Dorothy Wilding.

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24 of the 59 portraits will be on display this summer to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee in an exhibition titled “Platinum Jubilee: Accession of the Queenin the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace from Friday July 22 to Sunday October 2, 2022. The Girls of Great Britain and Ireland Tiara will also be on display. Find more information, including how to get tickets, here.


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