Queen ‘didn’t like her hands’, royal photographer reveals

‘She was just so funny from the minute she walked in,’ British photographer Rankin said

Laura Hampson
Tuesday 15 November 2022 10:07 GMT
King Charles unveils statue of late Queen Elizabeth II at York Minster

A British photographer has revealed that Queen Elizabeth II once told him that she “didn’t like her hands”.

Rankin, who photographed the late Queen ahead of her Golden Jubilee in 2022, said that a “wave of empowerment” washed over him when he met Her Majesty for the photo.

“Of course she came in and this wave of empowerment washes over you,” Rankin, 56, told the Tea with Twiggy podcast.

“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, but 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. I loved it — I spent five minutes with her, so I don’t know her intimately.”

Rankin added that, before the shoot, he saw the Queen “laughing and joking” with a footman.

“I was in the throne room and she was walking down this corridor and I could see her and the footman walking. 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 explained.

“I got a really amazing note where the curator said my photograph of her is one of their favourites — which I think means the Palace’s favourite — because she’s really laughing in my picture.”

Rankin’s picture shows the Queen wearing bright pink lipstick in front of a Union Jack. He was one of 10 photographers who were invited to take the Queen’s picture for the jubilee that year.

In an interview at the time he said: “She’s got a great sense of humour, and she took the mickey out of me . . . The sync lead fell out of my camera and she started smiling and joking. She said, ‘Oh, you do have a lot of equipment, don’t you?’”

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in