Queen invited Annie Leibovitz to take royal portraits after TV show incident

The Queen invited photographer Annie Leibovitz to take a series of royal portraits to make amends for the artist being wrongly accused of upsetting the monarch during a photoshoot, a royal aide has revealed.

Angela Kelly, the Queen’s personal adviser, curator and in-house designer, writing in her new book states the Queen readily agreed to her suggestion the celebrity be asked to mark the head of state’s 90th birthday in 2016, by photographing the royal family.

The 2007 footage, which gave the false impression the Queen had stormed out of a shoot with the photographer, caused a furore when featured in the trailer for the television documentary A Year With The Queen.

Annie Leibovitz (Jonathan Brady/PA)
Annie Leibovitz (Jonathan Brady/PA)

A scene of the monarch walking out of a photocall after being asked by Leibovitz to remove her crown because it was “too dressy” was, in fact, the Queen walking in.

The BBC and RDF, the company which made the clip, both apologised after a complaint from Buckingham Palace.

Ms Kelly writes in her book The Other Side of the Coin: “Almost nine years later, the Queen and I had a conversation about how we could make things right.

“Her Majesty’s 90th birthday was coming up, and I suggested that we invite Annie back to do the official photographs. The Queen was more than happy and in full agreement that it would be the right thing to do to make amends for this earlier misunderstanding, and said yes.

“Her Majesty and I discussed different ideas for the photographs. I suggested that Annie should keep things simple and that the shoot should be informal based around the Queen and her family.”

Queen Elizabeth II on the cover of Vanity Fair
The Queen with her corgis (Annie Leibovitz/Vanity Fair)

Ms Kelly said the head of state liked her idea for the four photographs – the Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh and also pictured with her daughter the Princess Royal, all her great-grandchildren and her corgis.

She later flew to New York to discuss the proposal with the photographer: “When I told her that the Queen had asked for her to return to photograph her on or close to her 90th birthday, Annie was thrilled and humbled to receive the honour.”

But the highlight of the photoshoot was not the youngsters, but the Queen’s four-legged companions.

The Queen’s confidante said: “But the real stars of the show that day were the corgis! They knew how to work the camera, looking straight at Annie while she was taking the photos.”

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