Before she was Queen: Portrait of Elizabeth II prior to her coronation hidden away for 50 years goes up for auction for 6,000
20:36 GMT, 15 March 2012
Previously unseen portraits taken of the Queen just before her Coronation have emerged for sale from the family of the photographer.
The 35 snaps, from March 1952, also include images of Prince Philip and the couple’s first two children, Charles and Anne.
George VI had just died and despite being in mourning the Queen looks relaxed and confident in the picture taken by Kenneth Clayton, who was commissioned by artist Lindsay Williams.
The artist had been asked to paint the official portraits of the Queen and needed something to work from.
The Queen, pictured in 1952, looks relaxed and confident in the picture taken by Kenneth Clayton despite being in mourning after her father, George VI died
Mr Clayton was a well known photographer and he was allowed to keep the pictures as long as he didn’t release them for 30 years.
Not only did he keep to the agreement – but he refused to reveal them for the rest of his life.
He died in 2001 and his son had similar opinions, but now his grandson, Daniel Clayton, has decided the time is right in Jubilee year to put them on the market.
They are particularly important because they were taken before the Coronation, yet show Her Majesty with the crown on.
There is a charming photo of Charles aged three and one of an 18-month-old smiling Anne wearing a white dress.
The Queen's children, Charles, aged three, left, and 18-month-old smiling Anne wearing a white dress
'The pictures of her two children show them looking sweet and innocent and they could be anybody's,' said Steven Moore from Anderson and Garland auction house in Newcastle which is selling the snaps
Collectors are incredibly excited about the find and an pre-sale estimate of 6,000 is expected to be well exceeded at the sale.
Daniel Clayton, an army officer, said: 'Back in the 1940s and 1950s my grandfather was a photographer in London and had a contract with the BBC and was quite well known.
An image of Prince Philip, aged 32, forms part of the collection of 25 snaps, estimated at 6,000-8,000
'The portrait artist Lindsay Williams
was commissioned to paint three portraits; one of the Queen in her
crown, one of of Prince Philip and one of Charles and Anne.
'She required something to work from and she commissioned my grandfather to take some photographs.
'The photos were not to be released because the Queen was still in mourning for her father and was not in black.
'Also, she was wearing her crown but had not been coronated. My grandfather was not to release the photos for 30 years.
'But he took the view that if the Palace didn’t want them released for 30 years, they probably didn’t want them released at all.
'My father had the same opinion but he and my mother have now retired and I think it is the right time to sell them.
'It might provide some money for my parents and it is Jubilee year and I don’t think anyone will mind.
'They are historically important because they were between the death of George VI and the Queen’s coronation.
'It was the first sit-down portrait taken of the Queen after her father’s death. There are 35 pictures in all and some of the won’t have been seen by the people in them.
'After the shoot he sent an album to the Queen which included some of the pictures and they wrote back to thank him.'
Steven Moore, from Anderson and Garland auction house in Newcastle, which is selling the snaps, said: 'The Queen is someone with whom we are all familiar and is the nation’s grandmother.
'But these were taken just weeks before she became Queen at the age of 25 and there is an innocence and naturalness about her.
'We are used to more stage setting for these portraits, but there is a radiance and almost mystical quality with these.
'She was a young girl looking into her future. And despite her being in mourning for her father she is clearly doing her duty, as she has done now for 60 years.
'The pictures of her two children show them looking sweet and innocent and they could be anybody’s.
'There was great secrecy surrounding these portraits and the Palace could have hired Cecil Beaton, which would have been a more obvious choice.
'But they wanted someone who was not so well known. They are very difficult to value – it’s like putting a price on a piece of history.'
The archive, which has an estimate of 6,000-8,000, is being sold next Wednesday.
Photographer Kenneth Clayton with Princess Anne and Prince Charles
The portrait artist Lindsay Williams was commissioned to paint three portraits; one of the Queen in her crown, one of of Prince Philip and one of Charles and Anne