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Photographer tells story behind iconic photo of Prince Philip and Queen

Aarabi Baheerathan

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Photographer tells story behind iconic photo of Prince Philip and Queen

Featured Image Credit: PA Images/Alamy Stock Photo

As Britain mourns the passing of Queen Elizabeth II, people are remembering the many highlights of her 70-year reign.

One such highlight is an eye-catching photo of Her Majesty laughing with Prince Philip in his grenadier guards uniform. Now, the photographer behind the iconic picture has come forward to explain what exactly the Queen was laughing at.

It’s hard not to admire the Queen's marriage of 73 years to Prince Philip. The two gained appreciation as the longest-married Royal couple in British history, with the Queen publicly acknowledging Philip as her 'strength' in 1997. The Duke of Edinburgh passed away last year at the age of 99.

The iconic photo in question (which you can see below) captured a rare public moment of fondness between the couple.

The iconic photo of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, captured by Chris Young in 2003. Credit: PA Images/Alamy
The iconic photo of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, captured by Chris Young in 2003. Credit: PA Images/Alamy

Taken in 2003, the picture of the Queen giggling at the Duke at Windsor Castle was circulated widely.

It generated much speculation, with social media viewers wondering what the Duke had said or done to earn a giggle from the Queen.

Some questioned whether the laughter was the result of Philip dressing up as a palace guard as a prank, but this theory was debunked as Philip was the colonel of the grenadier guards from 1975 until 2017, so it wasn't unusual for him to be wearing the uniform.

Photographer Chris Young has now revealed to the the BBC the real reason the Queen was laughing.

The event the photo was taken during was a review of the Grenadier Guards' elite Queen's Company regiment at Windsor Castle. It was a typically formal affair until a swarm of bees interrupted proceedings.

A royal beekeeper was called upon, who then diligently dealt with the bees, but not before Young managed to capture the moment of warmth between husband and wife.

Queen Elizabeth. Credit: Everett Collection Inc
Queen Elizabeth. Credit: Everett Collection Inc

As the only photographer at the event, he described the opportunity as nerve-wracking, but an important one.

"I got lucky,” he said, 18 years after taking the photo. “I recognised that it was a human moment. She was giggling like a little girl and he was laughing too.

“I thought the reaction from both of them was pretty unique."

With Her Majesty’s funeral date set for Monday 19 September at Westminster Abbey, crowds continue to pay their respects at the gates of Buckingham Palace.

Today, the Queen's coffin began its journey down the country from Balmoral Castle.

The coffin will first travel to Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, then on to London where the Queen will lie in state for four days prior to her funeral.

Topics: The Queen, Royal Family, UK News

Aarabi Baheerathan
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