Kensington Palace has published an unseen photograph of Queen Elizabeth II – taken shortly before her death – and released on what would have been Her Majesty’s 97th birthday today.
The picture of the monarch was captured by the Princess of Wales at Balmoral in August – weeks before Britain and the Commonwealth lost its Queen.
Happy in the Scottish Highlands she so loved, Her Majesty is surrounded by some of her adored grand-children and great-grandchildren.
She appeared in her element with Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, James, Earl of Wessex, Lena Tindall, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Isla Phillips, Prince Louis, Mia Tindall, Lucas Tindall and Savannah Phillips.
All the children are smiling sweetly as they surround the Queen, who was sitting between them on a Chesterfield sofa and wearing tartan at her beloved Aberdeenshire home.
Poignantly, weeks later on September 8, Her Majesty would die peacefully at Balmoral, sparking mourning in the UK and around the globe.
The Queen in her element with her grandchildren. Pictured alongside Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II are: Top row (L-R): Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor, James, Earl of Wessex. Middle row (L-R): Lena Tindall, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Isla Phillips, Prince Louis. Bottom row (L-R): Mia Tindall, Lucas Tindall, Savannah Phillips.
It was the Princess of Wales who captured a photo of Her Majesty with many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren
The picture was released by Kensington Palace today to mark what would have been Her Late Majesty’s 97th birthday.
The impromptu portrait was taken at the castle by keen amateur photographer, Kate, during the annual family gathering in August, shortly before she passed away.
Queen Elizabeth had eight grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren at the time of her death.
A similar family photograph was released following the Duke of Edinburgh’s death in 2021.
Earlier today the Royal Family paid tribute to their beloved matriarch, who died peacefully after celebrating her Platinum Jubilee, on their social media with a picture of Queen Elizabeth on duty with a message saying: ‘Today we remember the incredible life and legacy of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on what would have been her 97th birthday’.
Kate has become the Royal Family’s unofficial photographer in recent years, capturing a number of important moments. Most have been kept private, but several significant ones, including today’s of the Queen, have been released on special occasions.
In July, Camilla, now Queen Consort, praised the ‘very natural’ photography skills of the Duchess of Cambridge as she revealed a picture that Prince Charles ‘approves of’ that was taken ‘in the garden with lots of laughs’.
The Duchess of Cornwall has spoken about guest editing Country Life magazine, which will contain a number of pictures taken by her step-daughter-in-law, in celebration of her 75th birthday.
Queen Elizabeth II waits in the Drawing Room before receiving Liz Truss for an audience at Balmoral. It would be the final picture taken of the Queen on September 6, 2022
The Princess of Wales (right) takes Camilla’s cover portrait for the special edition of Country Life celebrating her 75th birthday last year
Kate has become the Royal Family’s unofficial photographer in recent years, capturing a number of important moments
The special edition of the magazine, which will be available from Wednesday, will feature a photograph of Camilla taken by Kate on its front page.
It was taken at Ray Mill House, Camilla’s country retreat in Lacock, Wiltshire. She bought the six-bedroom property, 17 miles from the Prince of Wales’ Highgrove home, after her divorce from Andrew Parker Bowles in the mid-1990s.
Speaking in a documentary following her role as guest editor for ITV, Camilla said: ‘They are very good pictures. She does it very naturally. We had a lot of fun doing it.
‘It was very relaxed and very kind that the Duchess of Cambridge came with her camera – she is an extremely good photographer. It was all very casual.
‘There wasn’t much hair or makeup. It was just done in the garden with a lot of laughs. It was a lovely way of doing it.’
And referring to one photograph in particular, she added: ‘This is the one I know that my husband approves of. Catherine said if anything else needed to be done she would be happy to.
‘If I can get over the fact looking at myself, I think they are very nice and just what is needed for Country Life.’