Sunday, 29 December 2013

Best royal pictures of 2013: Great Britain

There's only one picture that can top this round up of the best images of the British Royal Family in 2013.  After a wait of over a century, and for only the second time in the British monarchy's almost 1000 year history, four generations of monarchs were captured together.  The christening photo of Prince George of Cambridge with his great grandmother, Elizabeth II, his grandfather, Charles, Prince of Wales and his father, William, Duke of Cambridge is one for the history books.

Queen Elizabeth and her successors, the three kings in waiting, in an historic photograph taken on the occasion of the christening of Prince George of Cambridge on October 23rd 2013
at St James' Palace, London
Almost as historic was that first glimpse of George, future king, in the arms of his mother.  Kate, Duchess of Cambridge left hospital just over twenty four hours after giving birth to her first child with her proud husband, Prince William, protectively at her side and just desperate to get his hands on his first born son to show him off to the thousands of members of the world's media waiting to catch a glimpse of the boy who will be king.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge leaving St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, London with their new born son, George, on July 23rd 2013
In the year he became a grandfather for the first time, Prince Charles also marked another major milestone as he turned 65 in November 2013 and officially became a pensioner.  The Prince of Wales marked the occasion by giving TIME magazine permission to follow him for part of the year.  The magazine also spoke to several of his friends and former aides.  And while the headlines that followed spoke of a man who considered kingshhip a prison, the actual interview showed a considered man who has enjoyed his role as Prince of Wales and has a deep respect for the six decades of service he has seen his mother carry out firsthand.
The pensioner prince.  Charles of Wales turned 65 in November 2013 and caused controversy on his birthday with an interview in a major magazine
Prince Harry, meanwhile, spent the year winning hearts everywhere he went.  While rumours grew of another royal wedding as the prince enjoyed an increasingly serious relationship with Cressida Bonas, it was Harry's whistlestop visit to Australia in September that really cemented his place at the heart of the modern royal family.  The prince represented the Queen at a review of the fleet in Sydney harbor and spent just 48 hours in the country, about the same amount of time as it took him to get there and back again.  But he was a huge hit, with the country's Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, telling him that for one day only, every Australian was a monarchist.  The prince pulled in huge crowds for his walkabouts with fans even trying to get close by sailing into the harbor.  In 2013, everyone really was just wild about Harry.
Handsome Harry conquers Australia - the prince in one of the iconic royal images of 2013
In the middle of 2013, Elizabeth II celebrated the sixtieth anniversary of her coronation.  While the nation had joined in widespread festivities across a long, rainy weekend in 2012 for her Diamond Jubilee, the commemorations of her coronation were more low key and centred around a Coronation festival a Buckingham Palace and a special service of thanksgiving in London in June 2013.  But the Queen looked just as joyful at these celebrations - perhaps more so as she is said to dread the anniversary of her accession as it is also the anniversary of her beloved father's death.  And this year, she had Prince Philip at her side for the special ceremony at Westminster Abbey - the prince had had to miss the Jubilee celebrations through ill health.  Having the man she has called her 'rock' with her for this important anniversary was perhaps why the smile she wore that day was so broad and wide.
The smile says it all - Elizabeth II at the special service at Westminster Abbey that marked the sixtieth anniversary of her coronation

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