Rare photographs of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh to go under the hammer

·3-min read

Rare photographs of the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh taken in the 1960s by a celebrated royal photographer are to be auctioned.

Anthony Buckley was commissioned to take portraits of the Queen and Philip in one of the finest rooms of Buckingham Palace to illustrate the grandeur of the monarch’s official residence ahead of a major world tour.

The collection of 26 black and white images are from Buckley’s first sitting with the royal couple and were shot in October 1960 as they prepared for a seven-week tour in January the following year, which featured state visits to Iran and Nepal and further stops in Pakistan and India.

Buckley, who died in 1993, was also known for his portraits of actors and celebrities from the period like Roger Moore, Petula Clarke and Alec Guinness.

The images of the Queen and duke were later passed onto Buckley’s business partner and fellow royal photographer, Alan Shawcross, who is auctioning them to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Buckingham Palace
Union flags line The Mall leading to Buckingham Palace in central London

Speaking about the images, Shawcross said: “Because they knew they would be going into the finest places during the tour, the brief was to show as much of the grand setting of Buckingham Palace as possible.

“The album is a one-off. There’s nothing like it. I’m pretty sure some of the photographs in it have never been reproduced anywhere.”

The formal 10 by 8 inch portraits show the 34-year-old monarch and her consort, then aged 39, separately and together with Philip in full dress naval uniform as Admiral of the Fleet, and both adorned with the Order of the Garter.

The Queen is also wearing memorial brooches for her father, King George VI, and grandfather, King George V.

The photographs were taken in Buckingham Palace’s blue drawing room on October 19 1960, and a label on one of the photographs explains their purpose.

Titled “For First publication in Morning Newspapers of Monday, 16th January, 1961”, the label reads: “HM Queen Elizabeth II. This new study by Anthony Buckley is issued in connection with the forthcoming Royal Tour of India and Pakistan; the Queen and Prince Philip leave London for India on January 20th 1961.”

Buckley built his career taking striking portraits of leading actors of the day when he first opened his studio in 1937.

A retrospective show of his work at the National Portrait Gallery in 2002 featured images from the 1930s to 1960s including Peter Cushing, Judi Dench and Kenneth Williams.

In the 1950s, he worked with Dorothy Wilding, who took the original photograph of the Queen which was used for postage stamps from 1952 to 1967.

Having established the firm of Anthony Buckley in 1952, later Anthony Buckley & Constantine, in the 1960s he moved to Grosvenor Street as a well-established royal photographer.

Shawcross believes his former business partner’s sensitivity and innate sense of elegance made him such a good royal photographer.

He said: “Buckley was very proper and upright. I think he was a brilliant photographer.

“As quite a sensitive man, he was able to communicate well with his sitters and this allowed him to be gently persuasive in showing them to their advantage, which is essential for success as a portrait photographer.

“The sheer quality of his prints stands out. Nearly all black and white, they are of a very high order and exquisite.”

The album of photographs, which have an estimated value of £1,000 – £2,000, will go on sale at Ewbank’s auctioneers on June 18.