Buckingham Palace announced the sad news that Queen Elizabeth II died on Sept. 8, 2022. And since then, those who worked with her have been sharing memories and stories about their time with the late monarch. That includes photographer Ranald Mackechnie, who took the last portrait of the queen which was released the night before her funeral, and Jane Barlow, who captured the final public images of the royal family matriarch just two days before her death.
When Queen Elizabeth’s final portrait was taken
The final portrait of Queen Elizabeth was taken by Mackechnie back in May at Windsor Castle before her Platinum Jubilee celebrations the following month.
Mackechnie shot a series of pics one of which was shared on June 1, 2022, a day before the queen officially marked 70 years on the throne.
The evening before her funeral the royal family shared another never-before-seen portrait that Mackechnie took and captioned it: “Ahead of Her Majesty The Queen’s State Funeral, a new photograph has been released. The photo was taken to mark Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee — the first British Monarch to reach this milestone. Tomorrow, millions will come together to commemorate her remarkable life.”
What the queen told photographer when he asked her to smile
Mackechnie relayed a story about the monarch and what a great sense of humor she had revealing the cheeky four-word response she gave him after he asked her to smile and look happy for her portrait.
“She arrived and walked in and we said hello, then she just looks at me and she goes, ‘What do you want?'” he recalled (per The Mirror). “I said, ‘Well, I want you to smile and look happy.’ She looked back at me and she goes, ‘You can’t make me.'”
He continued: “I said, ‘Well, you could try,’ and she giggled.”
Mackechnie added that the queen had sat for numerous portraits over the years and was always good to photograph because she “makes it easy” for the person behind the camera.
Another photographer who took the last picture of the queen alive also shared memories
Jane Barlow captured those last public images of Queen Elizabeth II meeting and shaking hands with the new Prime Minister, Liz Truss, at Balmoral just two days before her death. The photographer spent a few minutes chatting with the monarch before Truss arrived.
“I got a lot of smiles from her,” Barlow said [via Sky News]. “I was there to photograph her meeting the new Prime Minister. But for me, the best picture was the one of the queen on her own. And it has obviously become more significant now.”