As they always do, professional photographers camped out at Sandringham, Queen Elizabeth‘s Norfolk home, on Christmas Day, waiting to snap pictures of the royal family making their annual walk to St. Mary Magdalene church.
But this year, it was a royal fan who got the day’s most coveted shot.
Karen Murdoch is a Norfolk native who went to Sandringham on Christmas morning with her daughter in hopes of getting a glimpse of the royals — including Meghan Markle‘s royal Christmas debut! And as Meghan, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate Middleton passed, she yelled “Merry Christmas!” at the foursome and took a photo on her iPhone.
“I’m just very bubbly by nature and I was with my daughter and I got a bit excitable, I suppose,” she told the BBC. “I was just sort of shouting and I just went ‘Merry Christmas!’ like an idiot. I was fan-girling. That’s all I said and got them to look.”
The resulting picture is about as perfect as she could have hoped. Harry and Kate are looking straight at the camera. They all have smiles on their faces. William and Kate are holding hands (something they rarely do in public!). Meghan’s holding Harry’s arm. All four are together, walking side-by-side.
It’s a history-making image, too: This is the first occasion that all four royals (well, three, and one soon-to-be!) have appeared in public together. And now, it’s on the front page of practically every newspaper in the U.K., including The Telegraph, the Daily Mail, The Guardian and The Sun.
Murdoch shared the image on Twitter with the caption “Waiting at #Sandringham to see the Royals and got this photo!!! #MeghanMarkle #Kate #PrinceHarry #PrinceWilliam,” which quickly brought in a slew of requests from various media outlets for usage.
At first, Murdoch happily told the outlets to use the photo. But soon, several Twitter users began telling her to get a lawyer and an agent — because she could make quite a bit of money off of the spectacular picture. Now, she hopes the money she’s earned (and will likely continue to earn for some time to come!) will help her pay for her daughter’s college tuition.
“The thing is – and I hate to play the single mum card – I’m a single parent, I work two jobs, which I’m proud of and I’ve always worked,” she said. “Now I want to save money for my daughter for [university] and if I can do that, and can get that opportunity that’s amazing.”
Though Murdoch managed to best the gaggle of professional photographers on Christmas Day, she admits her photo was simply captured in a good moment.
“It was pure luck,” she said. “I took it on an iPhone and it was a great photograph. The rest is history.”