They are among the most photographed families in the world – but these remarkable images show the royals as you’ve never seen them before.
To commemorate the upcoming Royal Wedding on May 19, printing company PhotoBox has launched a nationwide project to create a ‘photographic biography’ of the House of Windsor – as seen through the amateur camera lenses of the British public over the past century.
The campaign received a huge response, with thousands of images sent in by the British public, many of which came with fascinating stories and anecdotes – and some of which have never been seen before.
The best 250 photographs, and their accompanying anecdotes, feature in a new book, The Crown from the Crowd – which is published this week as ‘the people’s gift’ to Prince Harry and Meghan Markle with all profits set to be donated to Help for Heroes.
Speaking about this snap of the Duchess of Cambridge, amateur photographer Gert-Jan Wit said: ‘This photo is taken in Rotterdam with some typical Dutch things: tulips and stroopwafels. I always said, when Kate comes to the Netherlands I want to see her. In 2016 she came to the Netherlands for a one-day visit. I interrupted my holiday and went to The Hague and Rotterdam to see her. I had the chance to shake her hand twice and take some nice pictures’
Sharon Libby, who took this snap of the Princess of Wales in October 1992 (left) said: ‘Fantastic day when [Diana] was given Freedom of the City of Portsmouth… it was mesmerising to see her so close up’. Sarah Hillyar said of her submission, taken on 20 February 1990 (right) ‘Help for Heroes Private dinner at Serles House, Winchester, with the Royal Hampshire Regiment. I was asked to photograph Diana on her visits to the Regiment while she was Colonel in Chief. Felt very honoured to be asked and Diana was a wonderful subject’
The Prince of Wales in Bonn, Germany on November 2nd 1987. Amateur photographer Birgit Berg-Klug said: ‘Someone told him something funny and I was able to capture that moment… Not only that, I was also very lucky, because he shook my hand’
Describing his close-up snap of the bride-to-be taken in March 2018, Paul Ratcliffe said: ‘Meghan Markle pictured on her visit to Birmingham’s Millennium Point. One of the many engagements she and Prince Harry undertook prior to their wedding’
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Kevin Johnson, who captured this candid sequence of the monarch in November 2017, said: ‘This was the moment that The Queen was standing right in front of me and happened to glance at my camera, which I had lowered out of respect. Moments before the picture we had made full eye contact and exchanged a “Hello”. It was during a state visit to Hull and I never imagined I would ever get so close to her, never mind actually interact with her. It was a lifelong dream come true and a memory I shall treasure’
This image was taken in 1992 by Jill James, who recalled: ‘Princess Diana was visiting my daughter’s nursery in [London] SW14. My daughter is the one on the end of the table looking at her friend as though to say, “Who did you say this was?” She is about six months old in the picture. Princess Diana was very amused at all the cornflour being thrown around and made sure she didn’t get too close!’
‘The photo was taken in July 2017 at the presentation of the new Queen’s colour for the RAF Regiment, presented by HRH Prince Harry at RAF Honington. Prince Harry was greeting everyone so I managed to get this lovely picture as he was talking to us. It was such a great and exciting day,’ says Brook Rose O’Brien
‘April 17, 1982 Ottawa, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II had signed Canada’s new Constitution intolaw,’ says the unnamed snapper. ‘Her Majesty and Prince Phllip walked the red carpet, with Canadian Prime Minister PierreElliot Trudeau closely following. Philip noticed my son, Andrew Morris, age eight, perchedon a barrier, enthusiastically waving a bouquet of red and white carnations. Philipsuddenly veered towards us, repeatedly motioning Andrew to join the Royal party. Reluctantly,I hoisted Andrew over the barrier. He scampered towards His Majesty, and handed her hisprecious bouquet which she gently tugged from his hand! A delighted Prime Minister Trudeaulooked on. From the crowd, with Deputy Prime Minister Allan MacEachen blocking my view, I snapped my photo’
Prince Charles snapped by Amanda Smyth in Templemore Avenue, east Belfast in May 2015. The book, which is published this week, captures candid snaps of the royals picked from the estimated 50,000 engagements they have completed since the Second World War
Princes William and Harry visiting Mokolodi Nature Reserve, Botswana. Amateur photographer John Aves said: ‘I was the Director of the Environmental Education Centre and took these photos of the two young royals (very rarely were they allowed to travel together) when on tour in June 2010’
‘Her Majesty the Queen visits the city of Nottingham, going walkabout in the square in front of the Council House in the spring sunshine’ (taken by Paul Ratcliffe in March 1997)
‘This was taken at the opening of the New Covent Garden Market, Nine Elms. My father (the man she’s shaking hands with) was the General Manager then and responsible for the move from the old site at Covent Garden. He died six and a half years ago… I love how one of the other men in the line up is giving my dad rather an odd look, and Prince Philip in the background appears to be looking over to see what Queen Elizabeth is up to’ (taken by Claire Roberts in 11 November 1974)
‘This was taken whilst the Queen Mother was on holiday at the Castle of Mey. She had turned up to watch the local sheep dog trials and support the event. As ever she was a dream to photograph, turning in her car seat to ensure l got the shot. She had a wonderful knack of making you feel very special and each time l was lucky enough to meet her, she was effortlessly charming’ (snapped by David Butler in August 1992)
‘While we were living in New Zealand Harry visited Wanganui, the small town we were living in. He was welcomed warmly by the Maori and paddled up our fabulous Aanganui river in a traditional Maori waka [canoe]. The town loved the fact that he visited such a small town instead of focusing on the large city centres. I was able to get up close and personal and will always remember it. He even noticed my Union Jack earrings,’ comments Julia Maxwell
‘This photograph was taken immediately after the Queen had celebrated her birthday at the Guildhall in Windsor with other nonagenarians. She and Prince Philip were driven around Windsor as Meghan and Harry will be on their Wedding Day. We were fortunate enough to be staying just opposite the Guildhall and enjoyed the Royal smile as the Queen acknowledged the crowds and their cameras and Prince Philips also spared a glance for the other nonagenarians and their families’ (taken by Kathryn Phillips in April 2016)
‘Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal visits Wakefield’s Citizens Advice Bureaux and left holding a plastic bag, July 1989 (left); and Princess Anne visits a Save the Children Gala at Pontefract Racecourse, July 1994 (right)