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When it comes to royal access, we owe royal photographer Chris Jackson quite a bit. Through his coverage of the royal family for Getty Images for the past 20 years, he’s given us a front row seat to many a royal occasion—from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s royal wedding to behind the scenes at Prince William’s recent Earthshot event.
Now, he’s providing an even deeper look into his work with a brand-new book called Elizabeth II: A Queen for Our Time, which is a celebration of her extraordinary reign, complete with page after page of images from the last two decades, all taken personally by Jackson.
So, what’s it really like to photograph the queen? Jackson popped by the Royally Obsessed podcast to spill the tea on that and so much more.
“The queen as head of the royal family is incredible,” Jackson describes. “She’s this iconic person—she is just so globally recognized and quite simply the most famous woman in the world. To have the opportunity to photograph her obviously is a huge honor. As frequently or infrequently as it is, every time you do it, it’s a different occasion and it’s really exciting.”
Per Jackson, there also can be nerves. “It can be terrible weather, the engagement might not go to plan, but you always have to prepare for the unexpected, which is what keeps you on your toes.”
Of course, Jackson is no stranger to high-pressure moments when it comes to the royal family. On the podcast, he also talked about what it was like to be back on the red carpet with Prince Charles, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Prince William and Kate Middleton for the recent James Bond premiere.
“As the cliché goes, Bond is back, but it really felt like that [at the event],” Jackson says. “It was live events are back and, in this case, a big, glamorous premiere and it didn’t disappoint in any way. You had incredible talent. Daniel Craig is just so cool as James Bond and so professional as well. Then, we had the big royal arrival and everyone looked incredible.”
My co-host Roberta Fiorito couldn’t help but ask: Was there an audible gasp when Kate stepped out in that striking (and glittering) Jenny Packham gown?
“I think these things are kind of frenetic; I didn't hear anything in that sense,” Jackson laughed. “Looking at social media, there was an amazingly positive response to [her dress]. Of course, everyone looked incredible—the Duchess of Cambridge, the Duchess of Cornwall. The glamour was back.”
As for his work on the book, with Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee fast approaching, we were curious to get his take on her legacy.
“You simply have to be a part of a state visit to see the huge respect that people have for the queen and what she means,” he says. “She’s also unique—there's no one else like her. She has this incredible legacy globally and historically; people will be talking about her for many centuries to come.”
For more about the royals and to hear more from this interview with Chris Jackson, listen to the Royally Obsessed podcast with co-hosts Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito. Subscribe now or follow us on Instagram @royallyobsessedpodcast.