Cecil Beaton

Queen Elizabeth II in Coronation Robes

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Background History on the Photo

Queen Elizabeth II become queen on June 2, 1953, over a year after the passing of her father King George VI. Cecil Beaton, a society photographer, was chosen to take the official photographs of the Queen's Coronation. Beaton was probably chosen as the official photographer because he took photos of Queen Elizabeth II previously in 1942, years before her accession to the throne. Beaton decided to take a new route in photographing the newly crowned, Elizabeth II. Instead of lining the Royal Family up in front of Buckingham Palace, Beaton wanted something more dramatic. While the photos were taken in Buckingham Palace, he used a painting of Henry VII's Lady Chapel in Westminster Abbey as the backdrop. In addition to the background, Elizabeth II is photographed holding the orb and scepter, wearing the Imperial State Crown, her Coronation robes, and the Coronation dress designed by Norman Hartmell adding a regal air to the portrait.

My Opinion

I love this picture of Queen Elizabeth II. I especially like how Beaton poses the Queen here, making her look regal and sophisticated. However the way the Queen's facing the camera with a slight smile on her face, I think she looks more realistic and less aristocratic. I can't help but feel that underneath the robes and the crown the Queen is a regular young woman with her own hopes, fears, and dreams. Although Queen Elizabeth II's dreams probably include ruling the UK with all the grace and wisdom of her father. I also love how Beaton captured Queen Elizabeth II differently than all of her predecessors, showing that the new queen wasn't your typical royal. I definitely would not change anything about this magnificent portrait.