Crown in Focus: Two Centuries of Royal Photography



A fascinating account of the British Royal Family’s relationship with photography and how it has been used to shape their public image. This stunning coffee table book presents 200 photographs from the past two centuries, including iconic formal portraits and rarely seen images from private collections. From Victoria and Albert through royal portraiture by Cecil Beaton and Patrick Lichfield, to contemporary photos taken by the Duchess of Cambridge and royal Instagram accounts.


The Crown in Focus traces the remarkable relationship between the British Royal Family and photography over the course of nearly 200 years, from Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s enthusiastic adoption of the emerging technology in the mid-19th century to the use of Instagram by the modern monarchy. Featuring iconic formal portraits alongside little-known pictures from private collections, this captivating book explores how each new development of the medium has been embraced to record royal life, the art of royal photography through the monarchy’s patronage of major 20th-century photographers including Cecil Beaton, family members Lord Snowdon and Patrick Lichfield, and contemporary photographers such as Chris Jackson.

Members of the Royal Family have always been keen photographers themselves. Discover pictures from the royal albums, and photographs published by the royals themselves, from Queen Alexandra to the Duchess of Cambridge. Written by our expert creator, Claudia Acott Williams, and published to coincide with our major new exhibition at Kensington Palace, 'Life Through a Royal Lens', the book is arranged into thematic chapters presenting 200 extraordinary royal images.

  • Author: Claudia Acott Williams
  • Foreword: David Cannadine
  • 224 pages
  • 200 illustrations with extended captions revealing the story behind each photograph
  • Softback
  • Publisher: Merrell in association with Historic Royal Palaces
  • ISBN: 9781858946856
  • Size: 28 x 23.5 cm (11.25 x 9.5 inches)
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The Crown in Focus: Two Centuries of Royal Photography Merrell / Historic Royal Palaces 224 pages 9781858946856


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