Yesterday and quite by chance I met the Queen, well, I say met when I really ought to say the Queen walked up quite close to me and said hello to the six press photographers (of which I was one) and then continued on her way.
At half past six I woke up in my tent where I was camping wild in a layby just near to Balmoral – and decided to go and photograph The Royal Lochnagar distillery which as it turns out is just behind the gate house of Balmoral, the Scottish and most northerly home of the Queen. It was actually at about 8.15 when I finally got to the distillery, where the sun was gorgeous and the light truly a spectacle. The Distillery still closed I walked around the fields and amongst some cows – much to the horror of my usual avoidance of cows in fields with a camera in hand… Anyway, I had finished my photographic session at around 9.45 hanging around eating my chocolate Wheetos on the bonnet of the Landrover, and made my way back to the gate house and towards the main road.
However, at the gate house was a considerable amount of police and further down the road even more. Me being me, I stopped the car and walked over to ask what was what.
“The Queen will be inspecting the Scottish Guard today to commence the Queen’s residency at Balmoral for her summer holiday.”
And me being me thought this might be quite lovely – I mean, I met prince Andrew once at the Place Theatre London and Prince Charles had written to me to say that he liked my Harris Tweed book and Camilla has enjoyed visiting the places I had photographed and as a patron of the art Workers Guild had written to say he admired that book too. Oh and once whilst I was shooting for Country Life magazine at Chatsworth for a piece about Private Theatres, Prince Harry was on work experience in the kitchens, really there was only one other to be ‘acquainted’ with and that was Her Majesty The Queen.
So with my press card handed over and a whole series of background checks made on me (I used to have a police record! – for being allowed to work and photograph children), I probably popped up on their system as I got the green light to make my way over to the ‘Press Area’ where there would be just six of us.
It was brilliantly exciting and all over within 15 minutes.
The crowds were so happy to see our Queen, and her Majesty the Queen was happy to see us all and inspect the regiment of the Scottish Guard who were the Royal Scottish Borders, 1 Scotts, B Company.
She walked through the Guards, chatted to the Shetland pony (Cruichen the 4th), who had stomped his feet and the Queen responded, “You can’t stomp your feet at me I am the Queen” to which everyone laughed and within a flash it was all over.
So there you have it.
I met the Queen.
She has lovely skin, effervescent. She looked glorious,
And all day I was happy.
I met the Queen.