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Thursday, 08 September 2022


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In 1997 the Queen came to Stratford, Ontario, to dedicate the refurbished Festival Theatre. My daughter, 7 years old at the time, was part of a Sparks troop that was selected to be in a receiving line for Her Majesty. (Sparks are a Canadian association akin to Brownies.) It was an auspicious day, of course, and the energy was high. As we waited, I noticed that Peter Mansbridge, then anchor of CBC’s prime time newscast, The National, and his crew were in attendance. And of course the crowd was filled with other dignitaries. After what seemed a VERY long wait, RCAF helicopters rumbled in through the sky, signalling that Her Majesty was arriving. I was startled that electricity ran through my body, the hairs on the back of my neck literally stood up.

It goes without saying that day is a cherished memory in our family.

I'm not real big on queens, but I did see Elizabeth once, purely by accident. I was in London for something I forget, I believe in the spring or early summer, and it turned out to be some sort of British holiday that involved a parade with the queen going by in a carriage. On a scale of 1-100, as an America, it was about a 17 experience for me, but there were grown men in the crowd with tears in their eyes, and it wasn't the dust. The most impressive aspect of the parade for me was the cavalry (I think the Household Cavalry.) Soldiers on very large black horses and armed with swords. If you'd ever been in an opposing force and seen those coming down on you, I believe you would have frozen in abject fear. Gotta say, Elizabeth had a good run. RIP.

God save the Queen.

Have been fond of her even as a colonial subject of Hong Kong. We even have song liken here as friend of righteousness and bring prosperity etc.


Being of age three score and five-teen years, I'm one year older than the new king. I can actually remember the time before Elizabeth became queen in 1954. I was about six and I can dimly remember King George VI head on coins and notes and reports in the West Australian newspaper of the Coronation.

We were monarchist toadies then, swearing allegiance to Britain and the Queen. I'm ashamed to recall describing myself as 'British subject, Australian citizen'. I'm a strong republican now (nothing to do with the GOP!) We lost the first referendum in 1999 (due to a sly trick in the wording by an obsequious PM). Now it's time, after a decent interval, to try again.

Being an insomniac, I was awake at 1.30am WA time last night listening to the radio and heard the announcement of the Queen's death. That's the closest I've been to an historic moment, I think.

Finally, what's with the big changes in font and sizes recently? Your typeface is so small today (about 6 point?) that I can hardly read it. It could be that my eyes are filled with tears :-) It's also a sans font, whereas you usually use a serif font. Yet last week, your type was HUGE, around 16 point. Huh? (I'm using Firefox.)

No doubt one can comment upon the British empire. But she like 2 other leaders that help the change to more realistic arrangement. For uk it is the commonwealth. In fact just have a commonwealth game. And india is one of the key participants. She as a symbol of empire may be to some. But to many she is a symbol of friendship now. County can become republic but still not, say Australia. And whilst I heard a football match in Ireland said nasty thing yesterday, she is the only monarch visit Republic of Ireland. Let us see what she really is over the year.

The other two one just passed away is even more nasty. Unlike queen being figurehead, he is actually the head of Soviet Union. And whilst some Russians may think and even act upon his lost of Soviet Union empire, he is respected not because he is the symbol of Soviet Union but the dissolution of it.

Another one possibly not well known is the son of the first president of Taiwan (or last free china). His father is a dictator and killed all those opposite him in Taiwan when coming to the Island. Instead of continue terrorising his own country and given his Soviet Union trained (and even has a Soviet Union wife) he passed peacefully to the first Taiwan democratic elected president. China shoot missiles and American (Clinton) sent in not 1 but 2 battleship to warn. The democracy stayed on until today. With no American boots on the ground.

You may say all 3 has some “evil” past. And all had to do all these as they had no choice but change. But whatsoever I respect them for dealing with life as they inherit. Then make a better change to it.

Great human. Great being.

God bless the Queen from my heart.

P.S. I am not sure about the King though. It is not ease to keep this 1200 kingship or as the 40 kings crowned in Abbey since 900 years ago of William the conqueror. British monarch history give tears to student of history not because of any hatred or love. Just too bloody and crazy. And can they survive I do not know. Will God save the King I am not sure.

But as human we try our best. And just hope you manage do good whatever lemon the god give you. They are great lemon juice maker. Let us see any more.

Big Leica fan as well.


Yes, a sad but inevitable day.

I was sailing back to Britain from India, and I guess I was sixteen years of age as she was being crowned.

Many years later, I photographed her and the Duke of Edinburgh on behalf of the then Scottish Design Centre, in Glasgow. Officialdom almost frustrated the gig: as I moved from shooting their arrival inside the building, onwards to the next “station” of that shoot, which was her signing of the visitors book, the police barred me from entry to the room, so I just returned to the PR office and sat down to see what next. In moments, another official came rushing in to usher me through security, and I got my shots, a couple of which are somewhere on my website. I say somewhere, because the other pro work gallery there is pretty much all calendar pix, and it always felt it would be disrespectful to place those royals shots amongst the girls. As Jay Meisel says, who the hell knows where anything is anymore?

I also photographed her sister, Princess Margaret, along with then photographer hubby Lord Snowdon, aka Tony Armstrong-Jones, at the same venue. It felt kinda strange photographing another snapper, and truth to tell, I don’t think he enjoyed it much either. Sadly, all those other pix were lost/destroyed back in ‘81 as we moved from the UK to our new life in Spain. That I saved what I did is miracle enough.

An unfortunate penalty of life with the royals is that your own talents get dissed, and your success put down to influence. He, Armstrong-Jones, was already an established Vogue photographer and for the record, shot the most erotic snap of Helen Mirren that I have ever seen. Just google their two names and throw in the word mirror.

Regarding a comment made on these pages about the evil British Empire: think for a moment about the competition, both that current then, and even today. You can’t sensibly transpose ethics of a bygone age with today’s. In fact, of the many empires that the world has see, at least the British one left a legacy of laws, education, commerce and political nouse missing from many others, noted only for their absolute exploitation with nothing positive left when their time was over. That those subsequently independent may have thrown out that inheritance and reverted to murderous tribalism is not the fault of departed Britain. Perhaps a glance may be cast in the direction of the good ol’ USA and the Middle East (just for starters) before sweeping statements are printed. Further, look around the news sites and you’ll be hard pressed to find anywhere noted for the milk of human kindness flooding the streets.

Well, if I may be permitted to say so, it’s precisely the fact that royalty is not elected that gives it gravitas: it bears a country’s history on its shoulders, traceable back through the centuries, and that is worth more than passing political fashion; who will know anything about Trump or our own departed Boris in a few decades? That one or two members of such royal families go mad is both understandable as it is inevitable: imagine a life where personal privacy is practically non-existent and, unlike with common or garden celebrities, carries real penalties when mistakes are exposed: I envy not a single one of them - rather than envy they have my sympathies.

At the end of her only visit to Chicago, in 1959, Queen Elizabeth left the city by a yacht docked near the famed Buckingham Fountain. (A noob might guess that the fountain’s name is an honorific commemorative gesture of the event…not so. It’s named for Clarence, a rich guy whose widow paid for it.)

But the location in Monroe Harbor where the Queen’s yacht departed was informally named “Queen’s Landing”, a name still used by old locals to this day.

Always been a fan of the Queen since my mother was British, first seen her in 1959 at Gander, Newfoundland when I was a baby. She came to open the new international airport.

At school in England we watched the film of her coronation probably around 1968 or 1969. At the time we thought it very odd to have to watch something that took place 15 years or so earlier. Still don't quite know why, perhaps to stir our patriotic feelings? I feel reasonably positive towards constitutional monarchy, particularly as the Queen was such a fine example. One of her worst official meetings was with that oaf Trump. We all felt for her.

As a former Brit now living in the USA, I am saddened by the passing of Her Majesty. I am not one for empire, but I guess I was a bit of a fan of hers.
But Coronation Day?
We were outside at the street party with the road closed and my pregnant mother went back into the house with two of her friends from the WRNS who were now District Nurses. While I was having a great time outside with my 'mates' (cake and lemonade etc) my brother was being born about 5 weeks early.
So I guess we always celebrated coronation day. Every year!

Having looked at scores of images of QE II in the past 24 hours, I can state unequivocally that the photo of her by Max Mumby (above) is the perfect image of her. Her pose, expression, and her outfit (both style and color) are just that: perfect.

In that photograph, Queen Elizabeth seems to be saying, “Though I’m leaving, I’ll still be with you. And we shall meet again.”

Excellent choice, Michael.

Let's not forget fact that the Queen was an avid photographer, too. Several photos exist of her with Rollei 35s and Leicas. One photo with the latter was even used to commerate her sixtieth birthday on a stamp:


As an American not terribly invested in the every move of the royal family, her passing doesn't affect me directly like it does much of the world. I'm always saddened by the departure of a fellow photo-dawg, though. May she rest in peace.

So much could be said by people better informed and qualified than me about the woman, her qualities of character and her role as the head of a nation that has historically shown dreadfull qualities.
She was genuinely loved and respected, and has been noted in the press as someone in a unique 'job' who never put a foot wrong, also a model of creative restraint.
It will be interesting for us Brits to see what lies ahead now we are Caroleans. (And at the same time we have a new Prime Minister of doubtful competence-again).
As the bell tolled I was drawn to remember the portraits by Yousuf Karsh - perfect portraits of a beautiful woman.

As a young kid growing up in Toronto, my memories echo those of David Saxe and Scott Paris -- waving the little school-issued union jacks in 1951 as the princess's motorcade passed by and crowding into the home of the only neighbour who had a television to watch the coronation in 1953.

She visited Penticton B.C. In, I think, 1970 or 1972. I would have been 16 or 18 years old. As her car came to a complete stop in front of me, I ducked under the police ribbon to take a photo for my mom. Don’t do that now!

After one of the early comments on this post I was going to ask why US citizens seem so ignorant of the history of North America but instead I shall pay tribute to Dennis Ng’s wonderful commentary.

Patron of the Royal Photographic Society 1952 - 2019.

The Guardian tells the story behind the photo the palace used to announce her death. It was taken by Jane Bown for the Queen's 80th birthday in 2006 (using an OM-1, Zuiko 85/2 and Kodak Tri-X).


Pi Manson expressed my feelings much better than I did in an earlier post.

To see these privileged rich folk, who got where they only by birthright not by merit or popularity, spending public money to prance around in their finery while people in our country are turning to food banks makes me feel ill.

My only hope is that it will help bring about the Republic of Scotland. Not that I would wish Charles I's fate on Charles III!

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