Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip portraits taken by Anthony Buckley to be auctioned

Album featuring royal photographer's first commission for the couple in 1960 will be sold to aid Cancer Research UK

Queen Elizabeth poses in a photograph by Anthony Buckley, taken in 1961. Anthony Buckley & Constantine Ltd
Queen Elizabeth poses in a photograph by Anthony Buckley, taken in 1961. Anthony Buckley & Constantine Ltd

A personal collection of 26 official photographs of the UK’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, taken when they were preparing for a royal tour of India and Pakistan in 1961, will be auctioned next month.

The rare images belonged to royal photographer Anthony Buckley, who died in 1993, and will go on sale at Ewbank’s auctioneers in Surrey on June 18.

Mr Buckley was commissioned to take portraits of the queen and Prince Philip in one of the finest rooms of Buckingham Palace, the Blue Drawing Room, to illustrate the grandeur of the monarch’s official residence.

The collection of black-and-white images were shot in October 1960 as the royals prepared for the seven-week tour, which featured state visits to Iran and Nepal, and further stops in Pakistan and India.

The tour was the first time the queen had visited the former colonies, which had by then gained independence and become members of the Commonwealth.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip pose in a photograph by Anthony Buckley. The collection of 26 photographs will be auctioned at Ewbank’s. Anthony Buckley & Constantine Ltd
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip pose in a photograph by Anthony Buckley. The collection of 26 photographs will be auctioned at Ewbank’s. Anthony Buckley & Constantine Ltd

The photographs were taken during Buckley’s first sitting with the couple and passed to Buckley’s fellow royal photographer and business partner, Alan Shawcross, who has consigned them to auction to raise money for Cancer Research UK.

Mr 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 portraits show the 34-year-old monarch and her consort, then aged 39, separately and together, with Prince Philip, who died last month, in full 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.

Buckley had initially gained a reputation for his portraits of the leading actors and actresses of the day when he first opened his studio in 1937. A retrospective show dedicated to his work at the National Portrait Gallery in 2002 included portraits from the 1930s through the 1960s of stars such as Kenneth Williams, Virginia McKenna, Alec Guinness and Carol Reed.

In the 1950s, he worked with Dorothy Wilding, who took the original photo of the queen used for postage stamps from 1952 to 1967.

Mr Shawcross first met Buckley on assignment at Buckingham Palace. “We went to photograph the Duke of Edinburgh one morning in 14 different uniforms, each linked to his honorary or senior role, whether military or naval. I was stationed alongside the duke and it was my job to hold the swords and hats.”

Prince Philip poses in a photograph by Anthony Buckley. Anthony Buckley & Constantine Ltd
Prince Philip poses in a photograph by Anthony Buckley. Anthony Buckley & Constantine Ltd

Last year, nine of Buckley's portrait photographs of the queen, dating to 1963 and taken for use on Canadian banknotes, brought £13,000 ($18,442) at auction.

Mr Shawcross believes that what made Buckley such a good photographer was his combination of sensitivity and sense of elegance.

“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.”

A portrait of Anthony Buckley. Alan Shawcross
A portrait of Anthony Buckley. Alan Shawcross

Updated: May 20, 2021 10:34 PM

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