Royal photographer Julian Calder has revealed the behind-the-scenes preparations that were involved with getting the late Queen ready to be photographed.
The portrait connoisseur said A Right Royal Podcast, which you can listen to below, about the surprising footwear that the late Queen wore for the Chief of The Chiefs portrait. The monumental photograph was snapped on the grounds of Balmoral Castle back in 2010.
Bid farewell to the idea of dainty little shoes; Queen Elizabeth had replaced satin with stompers whilst treading the grounds of her beloved Scottish residence.
“She was wearing walking shoes underneath her robes,” Julian said.
He recalls the late Queen’s agreement to the portrait, which came under the condition that the robes stay dry. “She said, ‘Right, we’ll do this. But make sure that the robes don’t get wet.’ So, with her blessing, we went off and we did it.”
And indeed, Julian and his team went to great lengths to ensure the protection of the royal robes. Hidden from the camera’s eye is a sheet that paved an invisible platform for Her late Majesty, keeping her safely separate from the Scottish dewiness.
Julian spoke of the challenge of finding an accessible landscape for the late monarch whilst also ensuring it fulfilled its fundamental purpose.
“When you’re doing a figure in a landscape, the figure must dominate the landscape. But the landscape has got to be very sympathetic with putting the figure in there. And it all worked.”
Indeed, it did, with Queen Elizabeth II captured in a striking vow of strength and authority whilst she radiates beneath layers of emerald green.
“She wanted to see it,” Julian says. “She looked at everything, but she didn’t quite understand why she was standing there in the road. I think in the end she accepted it, that it was a significant portrait, and slightly different from most of the ones that she had done.”