One way to illustrate the virtuosity of Annie Leibovitz’s 90th birthday series of the Queen is with another portrait. There’s nothing wrong with the image immediately below, taken last summer for The Royal Mail.
Except the Queen looks more elderly than she does ageless with Princess Anne. And she presents like a relic instead of your close and beloved mum in Leibovitz’s love poem.
Make no mistake, though, the stunning photos of Queen Elizabeth you’re seeing this week are hardly agenda-free. Yes, the portrait of the great grandchildren oozes adorability. Mindful of the franchise, however, the handoff of the bag also stakes out the mandate for generations.
In every case, the way to promote the elite is to make them seem as accessible as possible. To that end, humor is a remarkable tool. This photo takes the wattage of the Queen and tempers it with an audaciously foreboding sky. Combined with the statue, those haunting walls and the edge of greenery, it hints at every gothic tale of English castles, countryside and, of course, hounds. All hail, the midgets of the Baskervilles!
(photos 1 and 3: Annie Leibovitz via EPA. caption 1: Queen Elizabeth poses with her daughter, Princess Anne, in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. photo 2: Ranald Mackechnie / Royal Mail / Getty Images. caption 2: Prince Charles, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince George and Prince William pose during a photoshoot at Buckingham Palace last summer. caption 3: Queen Elizabeth II poses with her five great-grandchildren and her two youngest grandchildren in the Green Drawing Room, part of Windsor Castle’s semi-State apartments. The children are: James, whose title is Viscount Severn, left, 8, and Lady Louise, 12, the children of Prince Edward; Mia Tindall (holding the Queen’s handbag), the two year-old-daughter of Zara and Mike Tindall; Savannah, 5, and Isla Phillips, 3, right, daughters of the Queen’s eldest grandson Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn; Prince George, 2, and in the Queen’s arms, in the tradition of Royal portraiture, the youngest great-grandchild, Princess Charlotte, 11 months, children of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. photo 4: Annie Leibovitz via AFP/Getty Images. caption: Queen Elizabeth II poses on the steps of the east terrace with four of her dogs, clockwise from top left, Willow, Vulcan, Candy and Holly in the garden of Windsor Castle.)