Royals

The significance of the Queen's official Platinum Jubilee portrait

The photographer behind the lens has captured some of Her Majesty's most iconic portraits.

By Alex Lilly
Mere hours before the official Platinum Jubilee celebrations kick off, Buckingham Palace shared a new and regal portrait of the Queen to celebrate her 70 years on the throne.
Sitting by a window with Windsor Castle's Round Tower in the background, the 96-year-old monarch smiles for the camera dressed in a blue Angela Kelly coat. However, the significance of the portrait goes beyond her new photograph and message.
To mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee, the Palace released this new portrait of Her Majesty. (Image: Ranald Mackechnie)
"Thank you to everyone who has been involved in convening communities, families, neighbours and friends to mark my Platinum Jubilee, in the United Kingdom and across the Commonwealth," the image's accompanying message read.
"I know that many happy memories will be created at these festive occasions. I continue to be inspired by the goodwill shown to me, and hope that the coming days will provide an opportunity to reflect on all that has been achieved during the last seventy years, as we look to the future with confidence and enthusiasm."
Whilst fans praised not only the portrait but also Her Majesty's seven decades of service, royal fans noticed that the person behind the camera was also responsible for some of the Queen's most historic portraits.
The photographer also took this iconic 2019 photo of the Queen and her three heirs. (Image: Ranald Mackechnie)
Photographer Ranald Mackechnie was responsible for a portrait of the Queen and her three heirs, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George that was shared with the public in early 2020.
Taken in the Buckingham Palace Throne Room, it showed the present and future of the British monarchy but that wasn't his only photo of the foursome.
To mark the Queen's 90th birthday in 2016, Ranald was commissioned to take a photo of the Queen, her son, grandson and great-grandson (standing adorably on a stack of books) for a Royal Mail stamp and reflected on his experience to his Instagram followers in 2019.
Remember this 2016 snap? Ranald was behind the camera for this too. (Image: Ranald Mackechnie)
"This image was taken for Royal Mail to commemorate Her Majesty's 90th birthday. It was the first time that Prince George was to appear on a stamp and it was all very top secret," Ranald recalled.
"Having been commissioned by Royal Mail 18 months previously I wasn't allowed to tell anyone, including my wife that I had been to Buckingham Palace until after the shoot. "
The shutterbug then revealed that since the picture was going to be turned into stamps on a sheet, each person's head had to be in exactly the right place.
"A millimetre the wrong way on the final stamp sheet would have made the perforations too close together, so I had to make sure everyone was spaced the right distance apart. I had computer monitors in the room with templates of the final stamp sheet so I could make sure each person's head fitted into the right frame," he said.
"Buckingham Palace had supplied me with Prince George's exact height so I could work out how to get his face a similar height to the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge. Unfortunately, when the Royal family came into the room and sat down, my computer system crashed. Prince Charles was very sympathetic, and saved my blushes, and fortunately I had back-up so we were back up and running in about a minute.⁠ It is a shoot I will never forget.⁠"
The Platinum Jubilee kicks off with the Queen's military birthday parade, Trooping the Colour.
She is also expected to attend the service of thanksgiving at St Paul's Cathedral on Friday, and the Jubilee Pageant on Sunday, when fans will hopefully see Her Majesty on the Buckingham Palace balcony.