In praise of Cecil Beaton

The Queen

I was re-watching The Crown on Netflix over the holidays and the Royal photographer Cecil Beaton was represented as a rather tedious and uninspired while Lord Snowdon was all wild and sexy and ultra-creative. But I love the grandiose pomp of Cecil’s royal portraiture – the royals as infallible Gods. Some years ago, my husband was invited to the Royal Palace to meet the Queen, along with a bunch of other Aussies and he says that when he first saw her across the crowded room, dressed in a peach-coloured twinset, she actually glowed. He suspected she had just absorbed so much public attention, so much adoration, for so many years that it kind of refracted out of her in the form of a celestial aura. He says she was throbbing with a pale tangerine light and that she was the most charismatic person he had ever met. Weirdly, my friend and Vampire’s Wife photographer, Polly Borland, reported the same thing when she took this portrait back in 2001. Anyway, we love Cecil Beaton here at The Vampire’s Wife. And, of course, we love Polly.

The Queen by Polly Borland