Buckingham Palace reveals new official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II with her three heirs
By MARIA PUENTE | USA Today | Published: January 4, 2020
(Tribune News Service) — Royal fans, brace yourselves for another thrill: Buckingham Palace is marking the dawn of a new decade with a new official portrait of Queen Elizabeth II and three generations of her heirs.
It's another of those rare times when all four top royals are pictured together in the same room, in this case the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace: The 93-year-old queen, her eldest son, Prince Charles the Prince of Wales, 71, his elder son, Prince William the Duke of Cambridge, 37, and William's elder son, Prince George of Cambridge, who is 6.
According to the palace, the only other "official" portrait of the four was taken in the summer of 2015 in the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace, by the same photographer, Ranald Mackechnie.
That portrait was released in April 2016 to mark the queen's 90th birthday, and was later used on special commemorative stamps released by the Royal Mail.
The new picture was released Friday in time to make the front pages of British newspapers and websites. It was taken on Dec. 18, the same day the queen hosted her annual Christmas lunch for the extended royal family.
The new picture shows the four standing in a corridor with walls draped in scarlet and gilt molding. They are all smiling and their family resemblance is unmistakable. As usual, the queen has her ever present handbag hanging on her left arm.
Although this is considered an official portrait, there has been at least one other publicly released picture of this particular "Fab Four:" The one released five days before Christmas which showed the four in the Music Room of the palace making Christmas puddings to launch one of the queen's favorite charity projects.
That photo shoot also took place on Dec. 18, judging from the clothes they are wearing in both pictures. The queen is holding the same handbag.
And no doubt there are plenty of private photos of such gatherings, including at George's christening in 2013.
The interest in photos of all four royals together is high because of their historic character, laying out before the British people the royal future for coming decades.
It signifies royal stability at a moment when recent events – such as Prince Andrew stepping back from public life over a scandal and Prince Harry and Duchess Meghan of Sussex's much criticized desire for more privacy – have left the royal family shaken, if not as much as it was in the 1990s.
Plus, there's the singular nature of these pictures: It just hasn't been possible in the past to put four generations of monarch and future monarchs in the same room together.
The last time it happened was in 1894, when the queen's great-great grandmother, Queen Victoria, was photographed with her son, future King Edward VII, her grandson, future King George V, and her great-grandson, future King Edward VIII.
(c)2020 USA Today
Visit USA Today at www.usatoday.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.