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Revealed for the first time in 60 years: First pictures of Elizabeth as Queen unveiled among family portraits taken after the death of her father King

Friday, February 10, 2012

Tight security: The secret photographs were commissioned by artist Margaret Lindsay William to help her with her official portrait of the Queen, to be released following her coronation

After 60 years on the throne she is among the most photographed women of our time.
And yet, remarkably, some of the first pictures taken of the Queen after her accession have never been revealed in public – until now.
Featuring the 25-year-old monarch, her youthful husband Prince Philip and their two eldest children Prince Charles, then three, and Princess Anne, then 18 months, the charming shots remained hidden from the world.

Candid: Mr Clayton posed for a photograph with Princess Anne and Prince Charles - and even held the little Princess's hand - a move which could have flouted royal protocol

The man who captured them was sworn to secrecy over the pictures, largely because the Queen was still officially in mourning for her beloved father when they were taken.
Photographer Kenneth Clayton, who worked for the BBC, had been commissioned by artist Margaret Lindsay Williams to take a series of images which she could use as the basis for her first official portrait of Elizabeth II.

Princess Anne and Prince Charles photographed by Kenneth Clayton at a photo shoot shortly after their mother had been named HRH Queen Elizabeth

It is not known exactly when the session took place, but it is understood that Mr Clayton was one of the first members of the public allowed into Buckingham Palace during the official period of mourning for King George VI, who died on February 6, 1952.
His photographs capture the pensive-looking sovereign and her family as they were still coming to terms with events that had changed the course of their lives forever.
Dressed in pearls and a formal gown, daringly baring her slim shoulders, the young Queen can already be seen displaying the poise she still conducts herself with at the age of 85. Ramrod straight and wearing his naval uniform, Philip looks equally distinguished.

Charming: Mr Clayton managed to take incredibly warm and natural photographs of the young Princess Anne and Prince Charles

Although the pictures are innocuous, under the terms of his contract Mr Clayton was forbidden to release the images for 30 years.
The palace was officially still in mourning for the King and there were also strict rules on the Queen being seen in her regalia before the Coronation, which took place the following year.
The Queen herself did not see the photographs until Mr Clayton sent her an album of 12 pictures in November 1952.
He was delighted when the palace wrote back to say that Her Majesty was ‘much touched’ by the gesture.
As a result, Mr Clayton took his promise so seriously that he refused to release the photographs at all during his lifetime. He died 12 years ago.
His family, however, have chosen to show them to the world to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.

Daniel Clayton shows the photographs taken by his father, Kenneth Clayton in 1952

His grandson Daniel Clayton, said yesterday: ‘[My grandfather] was very proud of the work he did and told us about meeting the Queen every chance he got.
‘I know I am bound to say it, but they really are brilliant photos.’
Mr Clayton, 38, of Sleaford, Lincolnshire, said he found the photograph which shows Anne grasping the hand of his late grandfather particularly charming.
He added that the pictures were a ‘remarkable record’.

Mourning: Prince Phillip strikes a serious pose in one of the 1952 photographs

Thanks: A letter from Buckingham Palace thanking Mr Clayton for the album of pictures of the children that he sent to the queen

source: dailymail