Earlier this month, the royal family officially celebrated the Queen's birthday at Trooping the Colour, a public parade featuring military demonstrations, a carriage procession of Dukes and Duchesses, and finally, the appearance of the British monarch's closest relatives on the Buckingham Palace balcony.
Speaking practically, they're up there to witness the ceremonial flypast, but the gathering also serves as a rare photo opportunity of the full group. And Shutterstock's Tim Rooke, who has been documenting the British royals for more than two decades was on-hand to photograph the scene.
Naturally, he was focused on the milestone moments.
"As it was Prince Louis’ first appearance, we just concentrated on the family group." Rooke explains to T&C.
"It was also Meghan, Duchess of Sussex’s first appearance since the birth of her son. However, she stood at the back behind other members of the family which didn’t make for great pictures."
Indeed, Meghan was somewhat obscured this year, tucked behind Prince Andrew, James Viscount Severn, and Isla Phillips. While her position on the balcony was somewhat disappointing for fans of the Duchess, it did allow Rooke to turn his attention to the Cambridges, and to capture his favorite photo of the day.
"My favorite picture from this year’s Trooping was a family picture with Prince William holding Prince Louis (making his first balcony appearance) and Prince George and Princess Charlotte and The Duchess of Cambridge all laughing," Rooke says.
But it wasn't an easy photo to take.
"Despite the fact I am using the longest lens that Nikon makes (an 800 mm F5.6), due to the distance, the field of view is quite wide," he explains. "Actually, the images contain 10 members of the royal family so the quality is again reduced, and it’s necessary to crop the pictures."
But even though the conditions are sometimes less than idea (for example, Trooping was notably hot), Rooke says he loves his job.
"I have always liked traveling, and as the Queen is head of state in 17 countries, head of the Commonwealth with 53 countries, and also often promoting Britain abroad, there are a lot of opportunities for me to travel. I also enjoy the banter with my colleagues, the majority of whom are freelance, and although we are all competitors we get on pretty well," he says.
"I started at Rex Features, now Shutterstock Editorial, in 1991 and am still here, and fingers crossed will be for the rest of my career."
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