Royal Photographer Chris Jackson Reveals His Favorite Images of the Royal Family
In his role as a royal photographer for Getty Images, Chris Jackson has traveled the world taking pictures of the Queen, Will, Kate, and the other members of the House of Windsor. Here, he shares a behind-the-scenes look at his favorite portraits, action shots, and candid photos of the British royal family.
PRINCESS CHARLOTTE'S FIRST BOUQUET
"It was amazing having the children on the trip to Poland and Germany because it meant that there was a whole ‘
Little Princess Charlotte here is getting off the plane, and being presented with her first bouquet of flowers, which is always quite a big deal. She sort of looked up in complete awe at the person that gave them to her.
I think because we see the children so rarely, it’s pretty exciting for everyone in the traveling British media, and you want to capture every interaction, every sort of
THE DUKE AND DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE AT THE MUSÉE
"I didn’t think this shot would work initially. I thought it would be more from the side with the light falling on their faces, looking across the view of the river Seine in Paris. In the event, it made a great silhouette. The Duchess was turning slightly to the left, so you get a little bit of profile.
So often, I’m used to photographing the
THE ROYAL WEDDING
"The royal wedding was a massively exciting
There were 2 billion people watching ‘round the world, and I had a great position to take the first photos of the royal couple as they emerged into the light outside Westminster.
I was pretty nervous at this point. I’d been up at 2 in the morning preparing my equipment: checking everything, double checking, checking it again. For Getty Images, it was a massive event, I think we had 30 photographers working on the day; we had someone doing the balcony picture, someone ready for when they left in the car. I was part of a big team on the day, and this was my spot.
I was worried about getting the exposure right on the white dress, so I was slightly panicking about that. Fortunately, I got it right—I was lucky they looked straight at me."
PRINCE HARRY IN JAMAICA
"This picture is of Prince Harry’s first official royal tour to Jamaica and Brazil. And it was a great moment when you got these huge personalities—Usain Bolt, fresh off the London Olympics, and Prince Harry—coming together at Usain Bolt Stadium in Jamaica.
We didn’t really know about this before, but they were set up to have a race. We were at the end of the track, all preparing, getting ready, getting the exposure right, and suddenly—we weren’t ready for this—Prince Harry just sprinted off, and left Usain Bolt trailing in his wake. It was a typical Harry thing to do. Always expect the unexpected with him.
It was a little bit of that magic that Prince Harry injects into royal tours. I look forward to going away on any trip he’s involved with because he’s great fun to photograph."
THE QUEEN AMONG POPPIES
"Here, the Queen is visiting an iconic installment, an art installation that really captured the imagination of the British public. It was called Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, and it was this incredible of
A LAUGH AT THE BRAEMAR HIGHLAND GAMES
"This is just a lovely moment at the Braemar Highland Games in Scotland where I think the Queen’s team, so Balmoral, are in the tug of war. It’s just a lovely interaction between mother and son. Quite often because you see them at so many formal engagements, you forget that at the end of the day they are just mother and son. These little moments for me are the things I’m trying to capture as a photographer."
PRINCESS CHARLOTTE'S CHRISTENING
"You don’t see the children very often, and when you do, it’s very exciting to photograph them. I was photographing the christening of Princess Charlotte, and it was a really big one for me, so there was a lot of preparation with my equipment—making sure everything is working, checking it, checking it again, and again.
This is one of those unscripted moments that I’m looking for as a photographer, with Prince George up on his tip toes. I just love that, how he can’t quite see over the top of the pram, so he’s on his tip toes, trying to catch a glimpse of his sister. To me, it was just one of the moments that stood out from the day. It was something you weren’t expecting to see."
CATHERINE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE ABSEILS IN WALES
"I like photographing the Duchess of Cambridge because she often gets involved in activities. This is a shot taken at an activity center in North Wales, and she is abseiling. It's particularly memorable because there were some pictures, if you might recall, of when she was much younger on a climbing wall. This is my favorite picture from the day—it was a nice moment, and it just sums up how she likes getting stuck in these activities. She’s not one to watch from the sidelines, and that makes her fun to photograph."
PRINCE HARRY IN NEPAL
"During Prince Harry’s trip to Nepal [in March of 2016], he visited some of the villages in the low lying Himalayas, and he was absolutely treated like a rock star. He would be given these garlands, and when he got to the end of one of these receiving lines, and he had been given so many garlands, he could barely walk. It just sums up how friendly the people in this country are. It’s an absolutely stunning place."
CRICKET IN HEELS
"This photo is from the first day of a highly anticipated visit the Duke and Duchess were making to India in 2016.
The Duchess turned up in this beautiful sort of maxi dress and played a great game of cricket with Sachin Tendulkar. He’s this hugely famous Indian cricket star, and she played some cricket with him. I love how she’s in her maxi dress and wedges, but nothing is holding her back.
It was incredibly hot there, but when you get to the end of the day and you’ve taken some great pictures it doesn’t really matter how hot you are."
PRINCE GEORGE ON THE ROYAL TOUR IN CANADA
"I just absolutely loved this moment because I loved the look of awe on Prince George's face. Just out of the shot is the Duke of Cambridge. He had been blowing the bubbles. And just the look on George’s face as these bubbles descended, you can kind of see them reflected in his eyes. It was definitely the
What’s great for photographers is seeing these images where they’re not aware of the camera, and you’re just seeing these natural reactions. And that may be what you see of other children on a daily basis, but for a royal photographer to capture that kind of image of George or Charlotte is really special."
QUEEN ELIZABETH II WITH DONNA THE ELEPHANT
"I don’t think anyone was really expecting this picture. We knew the Queen was going to open the elephant center at Whipsnade Zoo which is in Dunstable in the UK, but when we realized that the Queen was actually going to feed the elephant a banana, it was just so out of the ordinary for what we’re normally used to, especially with the Queen. This isn’t the kind of thing you’d expect the Queen to do.
What I loved about it was the elephant could clearly smell the banana and he’s reaching out and his trunk is fully extended, and the Queen’s
THE PRINCE OF WALES AND DUCHESS OF CORNWALL VISIT INDIA
"I loved this moment during a visit to the iconic Akshardham Temple in India in 2012. I’ve traveled around the world with the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall from the Galapagos to Pakistan, and they are always great fun to photograph."
PRINCE HARRY IN LESOTHO
"Photographing Prince Harry in Africa is always great because he’s so relaxed in this environment, and you get really natural, lovely pictures of him interacting with the children. The kick to the trip was this semi-private visit to various projects that Sentebale did, and it was really a rare opportunity to capture these moments between Harry and the kids.
I had actually given him my camera because it was a very good opportunity to do something a little bit different on this
If you want to see more of Harry's trip to Lesotho, here is a gallery of the images he took.
PRINCE GEORGE'S PORTRAIT
"I was really privileged to be able to take this photo of Prince George to celebrate his fourth birthday, and it was just amazing to see the pickup and interest all around the world."
CATHERINE, DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE AT THE KRANJI COMMONWEALTH WAR CEMETERY IN SINGAPORE
"This is one of my favorite photos because it’s quite a poignant image of the Duchess having walked through the graves, and she’s just sort of glancing over her shoulder.
What you see when you’re photographing the royal family every day is you can fit the images into different categories: there can be quite funny images, there can be very formal images, there can be historic images, but the poignant images are much rarer and more difficult to capture."
Interview by Caroline Hallemann.
This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors.