A couple of months back I had an email from Photobox about a book they were going to publish, made up of images of the Royal Family taken by members of the public. It had presenter Jennie Bond and historian Dominic Sandbrook behind it, and was inspired by a photo that a member of the public had taken of Prince William, Kate, Prince Harry and Meghan last Christmas, an image that then went viral.I thought back to the only images I’ve ever taken of the Royal Family, which were on one particular day in November last year. I happened to be in the capital one Monday morning with my fiancé. We’d spent the weekend there seeing a show (The Toxic Avenger Musical no less!) and visiting the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. With time to kill until our train back to Sleaford, we wandered around seeing the sights.
We’d seen the news as we were getting up that morning, the announcement that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were engaged, so somehow we gravitated towards Buckingham Palace. As we walked up The Mall, there was a police presence, and no vehicles on the road until a motorcade came right past us. We could only assume that it was Harry and Meghan onboard. For some reason we thought that they might make an appearance at Buckingham Palace so we hung around there until we found out that actually they were going to appear at Kensington Palace. With hours still until our train, we decided to trek on over there. Incidentally, by foot that’s actually quite a long way so it felt like quite the expedition!
When we arrived there, we saw that the world’s media were already there, a long line of television crews shooting endless reports and footage of the palace, waiting for Harry and Meghan to appear. We took a spot by a gate, and soon afterwards the crowd we were in swelled with paparazzi, reporters, royal fanatics and random onlookers joining us to get a glimpse of the couple.
Eventually Harry and Meghan appeared. I cursed myself for not bringing my longer lens with me on this trip, but as it happened, it was probably a good thing. The image I submitted to Photobox had other people’s mobile phones creeping into shot, a bobby at the edge of the frame quietly watching on. It probably encapsulated well what Photobox were after: the more spontaneous, ‘behind-the-scenes’ type photographs that regular people take of the royal family, not the clean, slick and polished photos that you see in newspapers and magazines.
I found the whole process fascinating – fascination with other people’s fascination, I guess. I took plenty of video on my DSLR, and just watched as the journalists went straight to work on putting their articles together. We were even interviewed ourselves by a reporter from one of the papers.
Amazingly, and much to my delight, my photo was chosen for the book. I had a sneaking suspicion it would be when it was used in an article about the book in The Mirror.
There are some fascinating photos in this book stretching right throughout the decades, and I’m excited to be a part of it. It’s going to be presented to Harry and Meghan on their wedding day so I hope they like the snap I got of them. You can get a copy of The Crown from the Crowd from Photobox and all profits go to Help for Heroes.