Arriving Late for the Jubilee Ball

It’s a fantastic time to visit London.  Everything has been spruced up for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics.

We arrived June 17th, the day after the Big Party.  I made up for missing it by purchasing HELLO Magazine’s Diamond Jubilee souvenir edition.

Through October, you can still enjoy an exhibit of the World’s Most Photographed Woman at the National Portrait Gallery.

A photographic documentary of the last 60 years, the exhibit includes some of the most famous 20th century photographers and artists.   The formal and regal Dorothy Wilding’s and Cecil Beaton’s 1952 coronation portraits to the Sex Pistol’s “God Save the Queen” album cover and Andy Warhol’s graphic re-interpretation of the Queen are all on display.

The exhibit includes American Annie Leibovitz’ 2007 Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace photo.  This was from the photo shoot which brought about “Queensgate”, a controversy that led to the resignation of the BBC One’s head.  I love this photo.

Leibovitz was given twenty-five minutes to photograph the 80-year old Queen.  All the photos were taken inside the palace.  At the last minute, Leibovitz asked the Queen for a final photo wearing the admiral’s cape but not the tiara.  Her image was digitally placed in the garden photo taken the day before.

I was naughty and took a photo of this great 3-D portrait before the guard swooped down on me and my little friend.

“Madame, you are not allowed to take any photos.”

Really?  It seems I am the first person who is not allowed to take a picture of the Queen.

If you are not in London, you can view the National Portrait Gallery’s 716 photos of the Queen online.

Annie Leibovitz’ other, more formal, photos of the Queen can be seen in her book, Annie Leibovitz At Work.

In this wonderful book, Leibovitz describes photographing Arnold Schwarzenegger when he was a body-builder and not the Governator; working as a photographer for Rolling Stone; and her by-chance opportunities with the aged architect Philip Johnson, writer Irving Penn and artist Agnes Martin.

She took photos of many, many famous people like Nicole Kidman before she had all that work done on her face and Hillary Clinton with short-hair.  Somebody needs to re-send that photo to Hillary.  I think she needs a new hair style.

There is a photo of Carl Lewis taken just before he competed in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics – Yaoo – Za!

Sorry Queen, I got a little distracted.

Happy Jubilee Queen Elizabeth II

My revolutionary grandfathers are probably turning in their graves as I post my congratulations to Queen Elizabeth II on her 60th year in power.

It was her great-great-great grandfather George III who wondered, would it be such a bad thing if in the end the Americans “became aliens to this kingdom?”

The fact of the matter is no one expected this baby-girl to become Queen.  And if it wasn’t for an American, Queen Elizabeth would not be celebrating her Jubilee.

It is an interesting twist of fate that Wallis Simpson, the great- great-great granddaughter of an American patriot, single-handedly, nearly brought the British monarchy down.

It makes me wonder what wheels of fate King George III put into motion when he declared Americans to be dishonest rogues.   Would Simpson’s grandfather have signed his oath of loyalty against the British crown if King George III hadn’t referred to them as knaves?   How far can unkind words reverberate?

But I say today – Let bygones be bygones!  Forgive our grandfathers.  And give credit to the woman who held it all together.

Cheers to the Queen on her 60th Anniversary – from a Daughter of the American Revolution.


Tales by Chapter

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