The Queen’s photographer reveals what she’s really like

Although we see plenty of photographs of the Queen when she’s out and about, and she has met countless people at official events, it’s still fairly unknown what Her Majesty is really like to be around when she’s away from the limelight and crowds.

queen Elizabeth II
Getty Images

However, photographer Henry Dallal, who recently shot the Queen’s 96th birthday portrait and has photographed her on several occasions previously, has opened up on his experiences of being in the company of Her Majesty.

He told OK!, ‘It was a huge honour. Obviously, it’s a huge occasion for me. It’s a huge honour and it’s always very special to be within Windsor Castle and with Her Majesty.’

‘But, at some point, my focus becomes “take a good picture”. My focus becomes, “What do I do to get the best photograph possible?” in terms of the lighting, the composition, and also, the biggest challenge, is to make sure the four-legged friends are also smiling at the same time and looking at you. But you never have to tell the Queen to smile.’

Speaking of the day he shot the Queen’s most recent birthday portrait, Henry said, ‘She was very nice, very friendly, very pleasant, and enjoyed the occasion. She loved being outside with daffodils everywhere, with the magnolia blossom, and with her horses.’

The resulting photograph, taken in March, showed the Queen posing with two of her fell ponies in the grounds of Windsor Castle in front of a magnolia tree.

Henry has also photographed the Queen for other occasions, including for her Golden Jubilee and Diamond Jubilee.

‘It’s always pleasant. It’s very relaxed. We take the picture rather swiftly, and afterwards, she stays a little longer to see everyone and be with her horses.’

What’s lovely to hear is how much time Her Majesty has for everyone: ‘She will talk to everyone. She will talk to the gardener, everyone. It’s pretty relaxed. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity.’

queen elizabeth II
Getty Images

Of course, when it comes to taking the Queen’s photograph, you don’t have the luxury of picking and choosing the perfect time.

‘We don’t have that luxury with her majesty because we can’t say, “Why don’t you come around at sunset?” “Well the lighting isn’t good, let’s try again tomorrow.” That doesn’t work!’ Henry said.