9 Burning Questions About the Arresting New Royal Family Portraits – Answered!
From the Queen's purse to why not all the grandchildren appear, we've got all the answers straight from a palace source
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Hold onto your hats, royals fans: The new Queen Elizabeth 90th birthday portraits are here, and they are brimming with amazing details that beg some very important questions. We’ve got the exclusive answers!
1. Who is the adorable toddler holding the Queen’s purse? And why is she holding the Queen’s purse?
The cute purse holder is 2-year-old Mia Tindall, the daughter of the Queen’s granddaughter Zara and her husband Mike. As for the ever-present handbag – which previously guest-starred in official shoots for the christenings of Prince George and Princess Charlotte – this time the purse’s place of honor was purely spur-of-the-moment.
Little Mia “just did it. She just picked it up,” a palace source tells PEOPLE. “It was completely spontaneous.”
2. Did anyone other than photographer Annie Leibovitz take pictures that day?
Although Princess Kate is a keen photographer (and has released several pictures of her children), the parents managed to keep their cameras and smartphones in their pockets. “No one else was taking photographs,” PEOPLE was told.
3. Why aren’t all of the Queen’s grandchildren featured?
There was no “particular logic” to including only the seven youngest of the Queen’s 13 grandchildren and great-grandchildren. “It was thought to have just the younger children,” the source tells PEOPLE.
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4. Wasn’t there some tension between Annie Leibovitz and the Queen in the past?
In 2007, the documentary A Year with the Queen documented an incident when the monarch seemed to chafe at Leibovitz’s suggestion that she remove her crown. But that now appears to be water under the Tower Bridge. “She took some stunning photographs last time and is one of the world’s great portrait photographers,” says the palace source. “The Queen was very happy to welcome Annie back.”
5. Why was Princess Anne the only one of the Queen’s four children singled for a special portrait?
Seated on a sofa in Windsor Castle’s White Drawing Room, Princess Anne, 65, poses with her mother for their first new portrait in decades. Prince Charles and Prince William, the two immediate heirs, appear in a set of postage stamps released on Wednesday. The decision to feature Anne may have been made to balance things out slightly, one observer suggests.
6. When were the portraits taken?
The shoot at Windsor Castle took place on the Monday after Easter, March 28 – just after Prince William returned from Kenya, Africa, where he had attended the wedding of close friend Jecca Craig. Kate and the children are believed to have spent Easter at her family home in Bucklebury.
7. Does the Queen keep any photos for herself?
Yes! As with all shoots, there were hundreds of pictures taken of the three scenes. But, there were some other set-ups produced for the Queen’s personal use too, PEOPLE understands.
8. The oldest grandchild in the picture looks familiar. How do I know her?
Standing behind the Queen at left is 12-year-old Lady Louise, the daughter of the Queen’s youngest son, Prince Edward, and his wife Sophie. She was famously a bridesmaid at Prince William and Princess Kate’s wedding almost five years ago. That’s her brother, James, Viscount Severn, 8, on the far left. The other children are all cousins: nearly 1-year-old Princess Charlotte (in the Queen’s lap), Mia Tindall, Prince George, and the two daughters of Zara’s brother Peter Phillips: 5-year-old Savannah and 4-year-old Isla.
9. What’s the deal with all the dogs?
For a dramatic shot taken at Windsor Castle’s East Terrace – on a very English day! – the Queen poses with her beloved corgis and dorgies. They are, clockwise from top left, Willow, Vulcan, Candy and Holly.