My Week: I made the front page
Six Days On The Life Of Arthur Edwards, 58, The Sun's Royal Photographe r, Who This Week Snapped Prince Charles And Camilla Parker Bowles Together In P ublic For The First Time
Saturday 30 January 1999
Go to Sandringham to photograph the Queen Mother on her way to church. It's a lovely shot, as she is holding the Duke of Edinburgh's arm. I don't think the picture will be strong enough, though. The journey from Brentwood to Sandringham is a 200-mile round trip and I'm tired.
Find out that the Queen Mother was rushed to hospital yesterday with a nose- bleed. My picture has gone in - not because it's a nice picture, but because it's a good story (the Duke of Edinburgh has been cropped out of it).
I go to the office to do some planning with the picture editor. We want the best people with the best digital equipment for Thursday. I have known for some time that Charles and Camilla will be appearing together. I have always wanted to do this picture and am really pleased that Charles may finally be allowed to live like a normal human being. Later, I drive to Wolverhampton to meet the reporter, John Hepburn, to cover a crime story. In the evening, me and John go to an Italian restaurant.
Visit Stafford police HQ for a photo shoot and afterwards wire the photographs back from the police canteen. I make my way back home for about 6.30 to watch Leicester City beat Sunderland. After the match, I check on the Internet to see if my team, West Ham, have signed up Paulo Di Canio, but I can't find anything so I have an early night. I know the Charles and Camilla story is going to break tomorrow.
Get up early and make my way to the Ritz hotel, stopping off quickly at the office to pick up some more ladders and another photographer. We are the first to put up our ladders at around 10 past 10, and there are already a few others marking out spots for themselves. I go to a nearby hardware shop to buy some extra ladders, so we have six in total. Later, I return to the office to do some more planning.
I check into the Ritz, and have dinner with Charles Rae - the food is fantastic. I have a seafood starter - scallops and lobster, followed by halibut, which is sensational. I am teetotal, so just have water and then a cup of tea. I watch News at Ten and then Newsnight, but it's a bit boring so I go to bed.
Wake up at 5 and have haddock and poached eggs. I do about 40 interviews throughout the day. Most are done from the pen, but I do a couple of radio interviews in my hotel room. It's tiring, but the paper likes me to do it. I'm feeling a bit stressed but I'll be all right later on. I think you've got to be in this kind of mood to get the best results. It will all be over in a flash. During the day, we take it in turns to leave the pen - mainly just to thaw out, my feet are freezing. With six of us there is always someone around to keep an eye on the ladders. In between interviews I chat with my mates. There are over 120 ladders, so there are always plenty of people to speak to.
I hope to God it's my picture that everyone will be looking at tomorrow. I am quietly confident that it will be, but it won't be the end of the world if my picture doesn't appear. All six of The Sun's photographers will be busting a gut to get the best picture for the paper - there are no stars here tonight.
I get to the pen at about 6.15 to wait for Camilla. With so many photographers it can be quite frantic, but everyone manages to keep very cool. Camilla turns up late at about quarter to nine, she walks straight in and I can tell she's nervous. I go quickly to a local pub for a cheeseburger - it's horrible, I can't eat it. I go back to the pen and Charles arrives at 10.15. I think "Oh God, another hour to go," but the hour just flies by.
While I wait I'm becoming very tense and start to feel a cramp in my hands. They both come out together just before midnight. I've decided to shoot it tight, which means to go in for their heads - this takes a lot of courage at this time of night, with so little light. All the photographers are very disciplined and the whole thing is over in a blur. I only shoot one roll of film, there's no time to change it.
After they get in the car, I'm so excited that I jump over the barrier and run to my room to start processing the film. I finish at 1.30 and go to the Ritz bar for a Coca-Cola - it costs about pounds 3, but I feel The Sun can afford it. I can't relax because I'm so tense, so I soak for half an hour in the bath before going to bed.
I am thrilled that my picture has made page one, even if it is only in one edition. I'm glad the job is done and out of the way, as I've been hyped up for weeks; everything else has been secondary. I feel contented now it's all over. I really fancy a bacon sandwich and go to a greasy spoon round the corner. Later, I go to photograph Charles at a youth project in Stevenage. In the evening I chill out with my wife and go to bed early. I've had a hell of a good week and I feel I've done a good job.
Interview by Daisy Price
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