A portrait of the Queen by British photographer David Bailey has been reissued for her Sapphire Jubilee, marking 65 years on the throne.
In the photo, the Queen wears sapphire jewellery given to her by King George VI as a wedding gift in 1947. The Queen has become the first British monarch to reach a sapphire jubilee. The portrait was among a series taken by Bailey in 2014, with one released for the Queen’s 88th birthday that year.
She became the UK’s longest-reigning monarch in 2015 at the age of 89. The photographer’s subjects over the years include Princess Diana, the Beatles, and criminals the Kray twins.
Sapphire and diamonds
In the portrait, the Queen wears a necklace made of 16 large oblong sapphires surrounded by diamonds with a matching pair of drop earrings. Over the years, she has added to the gifts from her father with a tiara and a bracelet to complement the original jewellery. It is tradition for the Queen to spend the Accession Day – as the anniversary of the day she became monarch is offically known – in private at her Sandringham Estate and return to Buckingham Palace a few days later.
Large-scale jubilee celebrations are expected to be reserved for the Platinum Jubilee in 2022, when the monarch will mark 70 years. In London, royal gun salutes will commemorate the occasion across the capital. A 41-gun salute will be fired by the King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery in Green Park at midday and a 62-gun salute by the Honourable Artillery Company will be fired at the Tower of London at 13:00 GMT.
During the celebrations, the Band of the Royal Artillery will play music close to the firing position, and 89 horses will pull six World War One-era 13-pounder field guns into position in the park. At the time of the commission, Bailey said he had “always been a huge fan of the Queen”. “She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I’ve always liked strong women, and she is a very strong woman.” The portrait was originally commissioned for the government’s “Great” campaign, which was to promote UK trade, tourism, investment and education abroad.