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Cecil Beaton (1904-80)

Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II 23 - 23 Oct 1942

Gelatin silver print mounted on card | 21.5 x 16.4 cm (image) | RCIN 2315189

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  • Photograph of Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022), half length, seated, facing the camera and smiling. Her right arms rests on top of the chair in which she sits, and she holds her hands together in front of her chest. She wears a blazer and a matching cap. A bow and a pin of a fired grenade is attached to the centre of the cap. Pinned to the blazer's lapel is a brooch depicting the Regimental cypher. Princess Elizabeth poses against a backdrop depicting a nature scene. The mount is signed by the photographer.

    Following the death in January 1942 of her great-great-uncle and godfather, the Duke of Connaught, Princess Elizabeth was appointed on 24 February 1942 to succeed him as the Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, becoming the first woman to hold the position. On 21 April – her sixteenth birthday – she inspected the Grenadier Guards at Windsor Castle for her first official public engagement. Here, Princess Elizabeth wears a brooch in the form of the regimental badge, presented to her by the Grenadier Guards, and her cap badge. This photograph was used as the Royal Family’s Christmas card and was widely published, featuring on Life magazine’s cover in February 1943. While Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret spent most of the war years at Windsor, they returned to London in October 1942 for the visit by Eleanor Roosevelt, First Lady of the United States. This provided the first opportunity for Cecil Beaton to photograph the young princesses.

    The Grenadier Guards are the most senior of the five regiments of Foot Guards - the others being the Coldstream Guards, the Scots Guards, the Irish Guards and Welsh Guards. Together, the Foot Guards serve as the personal troops of the Sovereign, guarding the Royal Family and fulfilling ceremonial functions as well as normal military duties. Queen Elizabeth is Colonel-in-Chief of all five regiments.

    Provenance

    From the Collection of Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

  • Medium and techniques

    Gelatin silver print mounted on card

    Measurements

    21.5 x 16.4 cm (image)

    27.9 x 20.3 cm (mount)


The income from your ticket contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Royal Collection Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational activities.