Why photos of the Queen at Prince Philip's memorial almost never happened

Palace officials tried to block photos of the Queen being escorted by Prince Andrew at Westminster Abbey, a royal photographer has claimed

Why photos of the Queen at Prince Philip's memorial almost never happened
(Image credit: Getty)

A photographer has revealed how he managed to take photos of the Queen's arrival at Prince Philip's memorial last Tuesday after palace officials tried to stop him from capturing the historic event. 

  • A photographer has revealed how he managed to take photos of the Queen at Prince Philip's memorial service at Westminster Abbey after palace officials forbid him from capturing the historic moment.
  • Writing for The Times, Richard Pohle admitted that he committed the 'most cardinal of sins' in order to successfully photograph Her Majesty being escorted to her seat by the Duke of York last Tuesday. 
  • In other royal news, Kate Middleton's concern for Prince Louis's wellbeing after birth revealed.

A photographer for The Times has shared his ordeal in capturing the Queen's arrival at Prince Philip's memorial ceremony last week after royal staff almost stopped him from taking shots of the monarch walking into Westminster Abbey. 

Writing for the national newspaper on Monday, Richard Pohle revealed that he had been told by a Buckingham Palace press officer not to photograph Her Majesty until she had been seated—an order he admittedly 'balked' at. 

It's understood that the 95-year-old's mobility had been a major source of concern for the Firm, with some reports speculating she may require a wheelchair to access the historic London cathedral. 

Pohle was concerned that 'the entire British media' would be demanding answers if he failed to deliver a photo of the Queen entering the church, especially considering that the BBC was 'broadcasting the entire event to the world.' His attempts to negotiate with the royal press officers on the matter, however, fell on deaf ears. 

Queen and Prince Andrew

(Image credit: Getty)

"I tried holding my desperation in check and argued my case as I tried to devise a diplomatic solution, but I was by myself and had no one in authority to back me up," he said. 

"The palace officials stood firm, no pictures until she was seated." 

It was only when the news broke that the Queen would be "escorted to her seat by the Duke of York" that Pohle insisted on capturing the moment. 

"This changed everything," he wrote. "The arrival of the Queen was now the major news event. I could see them wavering but they repeated that the no picture order 'came from the top' and that 'it wasn’t up to them'." 

Pohle then highlighted to palace officials the absurdity of allowing the BBC's cameras to film the momentous occasion but forbidding still photography—a comment that seemed to "have an effect." After making a quick phone call, one of the press officers approved his request to take pictures of the Queen walking with her disgraced son. 

Unfortunately, Pohle's struggle to capture the high-profile event didn't end here. 

The award-winning photographer's view of Her Majesty was initially blocked when she entered Westminster Abbey with Prince Andrew, forcing him to move from his "official position" to cover her arrival. 

Queen and Prince Andrew

(Image credit: Getty)

"I had forgotten that when the Queen enters a room everyone stands up," he admitted. "That’s exactly what happened. Now I couldn’t see a thing for rows of dignitaries and ladies’ hats." 

Desperate not to miss the opportunity, Pohle "jumped off my footstool" and slid "between rows of seats opposite where the Queen would walk." 

"Suddenly moving from an official position while on a royal rota is the most cardinal of sins," he added. "I brushed past the press officer and could feel a hand reach out to try and stop me but I rushed past and crouched in the center of the aisle." 

After successfully snapping a photo of the Queen arm-in-arm with Prince Andrew, he returned to his appointed position and 'whispered an apology' to the 'frowning' press officer. 

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.