The 56-year-old, whose other subjects have included Kate Moss, Madonna and David Bowie, was one of ten photographers invited to take the Queen’s picture for her Golden Jubilee in 2002.
The photo was recently featured in an exhibition showcasing photos of the monarch from across the decades and, Rankin proudly revealed: “The curator said that my photograph of her is one of ‘their’ favourites – which I think means the Palaces favourites – because she’s really laughing in my picture.”
(In case you haven't seen it, here's what it looks like:)
\u201cThe most recognisable face in the world? Tonight on @BBCNews at Ten #Rankin tells me about the day he photographed the Queen & how, with his acclaimed portrait, he wanted to be respectful & a little bit naughty (with the Union Jack reference to the Sex Pistols)\u201d
He explained that when he was commissioned to take the Queen’s portrait, he learnt all about her wicked sense of humour, so really wanted to communicate that through his lens.
Describing the moment the monarch entered the Buckingham Palace throne room for her sitting with him, he said: “I could see her and the footman walking [down the corridor]. They were both laughing, just chatting [...], just cracking up at each other, and I was like, ‘That’s what I want.’ So that was in my head the whole time.”
He then told his legendary subject that he really wanted to photograph her holding a sword, to which she responded quickly: “I don’t like my hands.”
So there you have it: the Queen felt funny about her hands.
And if you go through portraits of her, you’ll notice she’s often cut off around the elbows. Interesting.
Rankin admitted that he probably “wasn’t supposed to” speak publicly about that quirk, but we just think its a sweet reminder that she really was… human.
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