See Queen Elizabeth's First Official Photos as Monarch — Taken 70 Years Ago

Photographer Dorothy Wilding's portraits were used as the basis for the Queen's image on coins, banknotes and stamps

Queen Elizabeth II, 26 February 1952
Queen Elizabeth. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022

It was 70 years ago that Queen Elizabeth took her very first portraits as monarch.

Just 20 days after Queen Elizabeth ascended to the throne following the death of her father, King George VI, she sat for her first official sitting with photographer Dorothy Wilding.

A total of 59 photographs were taken by Wilding and were the basis of the Queen's image on postage stamps from 1953 until 1971, as well as providing the official portrait of the monarch, which was sent to every British embassy throughout the world.

Twenty-four of the portraits taken by Wilding will be displayed to the public at Buckingham Palace this summer, along with pieces of jewelry from the Queen's collection worn for portraits.

The then-25-year-old Queen wore pearl earrings and the South Africa Necklace, a 21st birthday gift from the Government of the Union of South Africa in 1947, with an off-the-shoulder dress.

Queen Elizabeth II, 26 February 1952
Queen Elizabeth. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2022

Also featured in the exhibit are photos by Wilding of the Queen wearing The Girls of Great Britain of Ireland Tiara — as well as the tiara itself!

The piece was a wedding gift to Princess Victoria Mary of Teck, later Queen Mary, on the occasion of her marriage to the future King George V in 1893. The diamond tiara was made by E. Wolff & Co for R & S. Garrard in a scrolled and pierced foliate form. Queen Mary gave the tiara to her granddaughter, Princess Elizabeth, as a wedding present in Nov. 1947, when she wed Prince Philip.

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Although the Queen, 95, is currently recovering after testing positive for COVID-19, a long weekend of celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years on the throne, is planned for June. Events will include Trooping the Colour (the annual public festivities for the Queen's birthday), the lighting of Platinum Jubilee beacons, a service of Thanksgiving at St. Paul's Cathedral, the Derby at Epsom Downs, a live concert called "Platinum Party at the Palace," the Big Jubilee Lunch and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

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