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 George
The first set of official portrait photographs of the Queen after her accession to the throne have been revealed – 60 years after the photographer who took them was sworn to secrecy.
Kenneth Clayton was a BBC photographer when he was commissioned by a royal portrait artist to take secret photos of the new Queen and her family in 1952. He was one of the first members of the
public allowed into Buckingham Palace during the official period of
mourning for King George VI.
The Queen had only recently returned home from her holiday in a remote part of Kenya, where she was staying with Philip when the sad news of her father's death reached her.
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
She flew home immediately upon hearing
the news and was proclaimed Queen Elizabeth II two days later on 8
February 1952, before being crowned the following year. His photographs
captured the Queen and Prince Philip in the months when they were still
coming to terms with Queen Elizabeth's new role as monarch.
images were then used as the basis for the first official portrait of
Elizabeth II after she became Queen, painted by Welsh artist Margaret
Mr Clayton even managed to take a picture of himself with a young Prince Charles as he held Princess Anne's hand.
Under the terms of his contract he was forbidden to release the images for 30 years – a promise he took so seriously he refused to release them at all during his lifetime.
Now, after decades of being hidden away at the family home, Kenneth's family have chosen to release the pictures to coincide with the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.
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
Grandson Daniel Clayton, 38, finally persuaded his father to show the photos 12 years after Kenneth's death in 2000.
He said: 'He was very proud of the work he did and told us about meeting the Queen every chance he got.
'My dad was proud too, he still beams when they get brought out – I know I am bound to say it, but they really are brilliant photos.'
Anne and Prince Charles photographed by Kenneth Clayton at a photo
shoot shortly after their mother had been named HRH Queen Elizabeth
Charming: Mr Clayton managed to take incredibly warm and natural photographs of the young Princess Anne and Prince Charles
He added: 'We are 99 per cent sure that this was the first time that she sat down and was formally photographed as Queen.
'Part of the reason for releasing the photos was to get expert help in verifying them, they are having to go back through palace security records from 1952 to check that my granddad signed in on that day.'
Kenneth visited the palace in April 1952, just weeks after the death of King George VI to photograph the new Queen and her family.
Tight security and secrecy surrounded the photo shoot, which took place while the palace was officially still in mourning for the King.
Daniel Clayton shows the photographs taken by his father, Kenneth Clayton in 1952
There were also strict rules on the Queen being seen in her royal regalia before the coronation.
took three rounds of photos, one of Queen Elizabeth for the portrait
work, one of her and Prince Phillip and a third of Princess Anne and
Prince Philip as infants.
grandson Daniel said: 'I was a bit worried he might have got in trouble
for that, I thought we might end up in the Tower or something because I
am sure he wasn't allowed to touch them but in the photo he is holding
Princess Anne's hand.
'It was a bit cheeky of him but he didn't think his family would believe him and now it's the evidence we need to prove he took them.'
Daniel, an Army intelligence analyst, added: 'Technically she was not allowed to be wearing all the regalia yet because she had not been officially crowned, but it had to be done so that the portrait could be painted.'
Both Kenneth and his son, also called Daniel, worked as photographers all their working lives and photographed the royal family on a number of occasions.
However, the intimate nature of the 1952 images has always given them a special place in the family's hearts.
The photos were so secret the Queen
herself had not seen them until Kenneth sent 12 pictures of Prince
Charles and Princess Anne to Buckingham Palace in a photo album.
He was delighted when weeks late the Palace wrote back to say that Her Majesty had enjoyed his pictures and sent her thanks.
the convenience of camera film, which had not yet been invented, the
life-long photographer had to use metal sheets treated with chemicals to
capture the images.
Daniel said: 'It's a tribute to his skill as a photographer really that he was able to get that many good shots in.
'My dad estimates that he could have physically carried a maximum of about 40 sheets so to have 35 great photos is amazing to have done with no flash, no lighting and no margin for error.
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