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The royal family's photographer reveals 3 hidden details you may have missed in royal photos

Insider
Insider
 2022-01-19

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Royal photographer Chris Jackson shared the amusing story behind this photo.
  • Getty Images royal photographer Chris Jackson shared hidden details in three royal family photos.
  • He pointed out corgi ornaments on a royal Christmas tree and the moment a knife got stuck in a cake.
  • He's published two photography books: " Elizabeth II: A Queen for Our Time " and " Modern Monarchy ."
Chris Jackson photographed Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip making the acquaintance of Donna the elephant while visiting a UK zoo in 2017.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip feed Donna the elephant a banana as they visit the Whipsnade Zoo in 2017.

"When I got up this particular morning, I knew I was going to photograph the opening of the elephant sanctuary at Whipsnade animal park," Chris Jackson told Insider. "But what I didn't realize, and what was quite unexpected, was the Queen would actually feed Donna, the Asian elephant, a banana."

The photo contains a hidden detail in the bottom right corner: "slightly concerned" zookeepers making sure Donna didn't get too feisty with the monarch.
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The zookeepers are just visible in the lower right-hand corner.

"What I loved about this particular picture is that it's just after the Queen's fed the banana to Donna, but she's anticipating her next one," he said. "And she's got her trunk absolutely straight outstretched, keen to snuffle another banana from the Queen."

Jackson said Donna's enthusiasm made the zookeepers a bit nervous.

"Another bit of the hidden detail that you probably can't see: There's quite a few zookeepers looking slightly concerned that a huge animal is going to suddenly rush forward," he said.

Thankfully, Donna kept a respectful distance from the monarch.

At the 100-year celebration of the Women's Institute in 2015, Queen Elizabeth cut the ceremonial first slice of cake accompanied by other royal family members.
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Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne look on as Queen Elizabeth cuts a cake celebrating 100 years of the Women's Institute at Royal Albert Hall in 2015.

Pictured with the Queen are Sophie, Countess of Wessex and Princess Anne .

"It was a really lovely and relaxed event, and everyone was feeling very jovial, I think," Jackson said.

Jackson captured the moment the knife got stuck in the cake, causing the royals to burst out laughing.
The knife got stuck in the cake.

"If you look closely, you can see the knife stuck in the cake," Jackson said. "It's a great example of when things don't always go to plan, it often makes the best photographs. Everyone bursts into laughter, and it's suddenly a relaxed moment."

Jackson said Princess Anne finally managed to dislodge the knife.

"It's one of those things where you might not know exactly what's going on if you look at this picture," he said. "But if you look at the detail a little bit closely, you can probably figure it out."

In 2019, he snapped a photo of Prince George mixing a Christmas pudding for ex-military personnel with his father, grandfather, and great-grandmother.
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Prince George mixes a Christmas pudding for ex-military personnel as Prince William, Prince Charles, and Queen Elizabeth look on.

"Prince George is clearly in the moment mixing that Christmas pudding," he said. "And everyone's obviously feeling quite relaxed. But, at the same time, this picture has historical connotations because you've got the heirs to the throne and the Queen. It was a rare moment to capture all four of them together, looking so relaxed."

Jackson pointed out that the Christmas tree in the background features corgi ornaments.
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A close-up of the corgi ornaments on the Christmas tree in the background.

The royal family's love of corgis dates back to 1933, when King George IV (then the Duke of York) acquired a corgi named Dookie. Queen Elizabeth has owned more than 30 corgis since 1945 .

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Comments / 7

Matthew Guess
01-26

Everyone says that the Queen has a sense of humor and loves to laughs. I smile when I see pictures of her with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She has a huge grin and her eyes sparkle !!

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