Queen Elizabeth Was Unintentionally Called 'Girl' by Photographer During Shoot: 'It Just Came Out'

Photographer David Bailey shared his secret to getting subjects like Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth to loosen up for the camera

David Bailey and Queen Elizabeth
Photo: Jemal Countess/Getty Images for International Center Of Photography; Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

Photographer David Bailey is sharing some of the most memorable moments from his decades-long career — including an unforgettable shoot with Queen Elizabeth.

Bailey, 84, opened up about his work in an interview published Monday in The Telegraph and spilled his secret to getting his subjects to loosen up for the camera.

When Bailey photographed the Queen in 2014, he earned a smile from her by asking if "the jewels" were real.

He recalled, "I said: 'I bet that cost a few bob, girl'."

When asked if he really called the Queen "girl," the photographer replied, "It just came out. I call everyone 'girl.' "

queen elizabeth
Foc Kan/WireImage Image

He added, "But she was girlish. Made a real effort. We had a laugh. Beautiful skin, the Queen."

Bailey also recalled a special sitting with Princess Diana in the '80s, admitting that the royal had "terrible hair" from the hairspray-heavy style of the day.

The shellacked look, which Bailey called "solid as a plastic dummy," came in handy when a light fell on Diana's head during the shoot.

At the time, "I thought, oh f---!" Bailey said, but Diana was gracious in the moment and even comforted the assistant who dropped the light.

Princess Diana 1988
Princess Diana. David Bailey

"She said: 'Don't think about it; it was a terrible accident.' I told her she had been very magnanimous – that's right, because she asked me what magnanimous meant," Bailey remembered.

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A photo of Diana taken at the shoot was released for the first time earlier this month. The image, which is a black-and-white photo, shows Diana posing elegantly in profile while appearing "reserved, stoic and looking away from the viewer," per the curators at Historic Royal Palaces.

The photo was taken when Diana was about 27 years old, and while it was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery, it had been retained by Bailey for his archive prior to its public unveiling.

Diana's portrait is on display at her former home of Kensington Palace, where it opened to the public on March 4 as part of the Life Through a Royal Lens exhibit.

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