45 years photographing the royals: Arthur Edwards’ favourite shots of the Windsors

As well as his insights into the royals themselves.
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Arthur Edwards is the veteran newspaper photographer who has spent his life capturing on-and off-duty portraits of the Windsors and talks about those photos in his fascinating book Behind the Crown.

In an exclusive for The Weekly the royal photographer shares his favourite shots and tells us the story behind the lens.


Derby Day, 2005

“Her Majesty adored racing and I just love the look of delight on her face here. She’s seen something on the ground and it’s really made her laugh. I don’t know what it was because the photo was taken with a long lens. But it’s a beautiful picture.”

Royal photographer


Windsor Estate, 1984

“The Windsor Horse Show was the Queen’s favourite event. She turned out every day and, of course, she was a very keen rider. She rode most mornings, right up until her 90s and never wore a helmet. Instead, she wore beautiful Hermes headscarves. She looks so young in this photo and yet she wasn’t really. One of those magic moments.”

Royal photographer


Windsor Castle, 1985

“This is when the Queen used to have Christmas at Windsor Castle and they would walk down the hill to St George’s Chapel. The Duke always surprised me because he was very much his own man, very gruff and didn’t like the media at all. He gave up his career for the role of consort and this is why he did it: he simply loved the Queen. Here he’s just taking care of her. He didn’t want her to get wet in the rain, so he got wet himself.”

Royal photographer


The Himalayas, 1980

“We spent a month in India and Nepal with then-Prince Charles and on the last three days he went walking in the Himalayas with the Crown Prince of Nepal. It’s customary when you trek in the Himalayas not to shave and I said, ‘When you come back can we do a picture before you shave?’ It was very cheeky of me but there he is – a lovely portrait, completely unshaven, and that’s what makes it. He still uses that crooked staff today.”

Royal photographer


Maundy Service, York Minster, 2012

“Philip was sharing a joke with the Queen and whenever that happened there was an immediate aura of loveliness. I often saw that look. They looked at each other with that smile and you knew there was always something special there, always.”

Royal photographer


Balmoral, 1997

“William and Harry spent the month leading up to their mother’s death at Balmoral with their father, and this photo was taken about two weeks before Diana died. The rift between the two brothers is now very serious and it’s going to take an awful lot to repair it. But you couldn’t believe when they were growing up together that this would ever happen because as you see here, they were just so together.”

Royal photographer


Sydney Opera House, 2014

“This was the first day of the tour of Australia and, just as Charles and Diana had done on their first tour Down Under with William, the couple took along baby Prince George. It was a triumph and this picture in front of the Sydney Opera House sums it up. Sheer joy. This couple are the future and they have been absolutely unbelievable lately.”

Royal photographer


Buckingham Palace, 2012

“William, Catherine and Harry – they were such a great team. This is on the Palace balcony for the Diamond Jubilee. Kate always looks likes she’s come out of a fashion magazine, and those boys were having a laugh and a joke, and this is how it was. It’s such a shame when you compare then with now.”

Royal photographer


Lesotho, 2010

“This is at the Semonkong Children’s Centre and Harry’s work with kids who have lost their parents to HIV, helping them get an education. I remember speaking to Harry there and he said, ‘This is the greatest thing I’ve ever done.’ He took his brother out to show him. I look at this picture of them together and I know there must still be that feeling there for each other.”


Windsor, 1984

“This is a rare shot of Diana on her own with the Queen. They are watching Charles play polo. Diana broke the royal mould. You didn’t ever want to miss an engagement with her because she would always do something to surprise you. What I love about this picture is Diana’s hair, blowing in the wind, while the Queen – as ever – didn’t have a hair out of place.”


London, 2011

“Catherine shared her first Remembrance Day service at the Cenotaph with Camilla – the two future queens together. I’ve loved Camilla from the very beginning and now she and Charles have been married 17 years and she is Queen Consort.”

Behind the Crown by Arthur Edwards is on sale now.You can order it now from Booktopia.

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