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Photography and the Royal Family

Since its advent, photography has been important to the royal family

In 1929 Princess Elizabeth was photographed by her father, the future King George VI, standing in front of a group of Madonna lilies, lilium candidum. The photograph was taken at St Paul’s Walden Bury, the Hertfordshire home of the Princess's maternal g
Princess Elizabeth (b.1926) with lilies, 1929 ©
Photograph showing a full length portrait of Queen Victoria (1819-1901) and Prince Albert (1819-61). Queen Victoria stands in right side profile and wears formal court dress. Prince Albert stands in left side profile, holding a feathered hat in his left h

Photograph of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert by Roger Fenton ©

Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and Prince Albert (1819–61) were dedicated patrons of photography from 1842 onwards. Their varied interests encompassed collecting photography as an art form as well as recognising its value as historical record, including documenting their own art collection. Their enthusiasm for this new medium extended to the purchase of a darkroom, where the royal children were taught photography under the guidance of Librarian Ernst Becker.

Over the years, many members of the Royal Family have been prolific photographers, especially Queen Alexandra, whose albums provide a unique insight into the lives of the royal families of Europe from the 1880s to the First World War. The selection of photographs below provides an introduction to the central role of photography in the lives of the Royal Family.

King Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom (1841-1910)

Maharaja Dalip Singh of Lahore (1838-93)

Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh and Saxe-Coburg & Gotha (1844-1900)

Man guarding a food supply waggon while encamped by a river in South Africa

Queen Alexandra, consort of King Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom (1844-1925)

Collage design by Alexandra, Princess of Wales with portrait photographs, c. 1866-69

Victoria, Princess of Great Britain (1868-1935)

Page from Princess Victoria album

Princess Beatrice, wife of Prince Henry of Battenberg (1857-1944)

Royal Group [Balmoral Vol5 1895 - 1900]

King Edward VIII, King of the United Kingdom (1894-1972)

Photograph of Prince Albert and Princess Mary at Balmoral, 1913

King George VI, King of the United Kingdom (1895-1952)

Princess Elizabeth (b.1926) with lilies, 1929