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This year is the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II and to mark the occasion a couple of photographic portraits - said to be the most romantic ever of the Queen - have been published.

The Monarch, dressed in the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle – the Scottish equivalent of England’s Order of the Garter – stares directly into the camera from an idyllic spot on her beloved Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire.

Now the photographer who took the stunning photograph has revealed how it was inspired by a series of portraits by renowned Scottish artist Sir Henry Raeburn – and how concerns about bad weather and a midge attack nearly led to the photoshoot being abandoned.

Romantic: Her Majesty the Queen looks intently at the camera as she is photographed as the Queen of Scots to the backdrop of her Balmoral estate in Aberdeenshire

Julian Calder said: ‘We wanted to photograph the Queen as the Queen of Scots and I wanted to do it as a Raeburn painting.

‘He did paintings of Scottish clan chiefs and I thought they were very romantic. In the picture the Queen is obviously looking at us but we wanted to have her looking at the massed clans on the distant hills.’

The photograph also shows the Queen wearing the Collar of the Order, made from gold thistles and rue sprigs, and a tiny St Andrew and his saltire cross.

It was taken three years ago but has been kept under wraps until yesterday, when it was published in Weekend magazine.

It is one of 100 portraits in a new book called Keepers, published to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation.

She agreed to be photographed after a private approach to her office by the book’s author Alastair Bruce, a Royal commentator and a direct descendant of Robert the Bruce.

She approved the idea partly because the late Queen Mother had enjoyed the previous two editions and had herself been photographed as Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports.

Pensive: In one of the shots the Queen, who is wearing the Collar of the Order which is made from gold thistles and rue sprigs, looks on to the distant hills

The team spent several weeks preparing for the shoot, which took place in August 2010.

Mr Calder and Mr Bruce spent the day beforehand scouting for locations and, after a four-hour hunt, opted for a remote stream called Gelder Burn, which runs into the River Dee and is close to a cottage built by Queen Victoria.

Mr Calder said: ‘We spent the day before the shoot looking at locations on the Balmoral estate which weren’t too far from the Castle.

‘We looked at three locations and decided this was the best one. It’s remote, you can seen the heather was out and everything was right about it. Creatively, the curve of the stream could mirror the curve of the cape. The dark green of the trees and the heather all worked as a composition. It had all the ingredients.’ Although the pair had initially hoped that the Queen would wear Scotland’s Crown Jewels, known as the Honours Three, tradition dictates that they can only be removed from Edinburgh by the Duke of Hamilton, who was unavailable.

Smile: Julian Calder and Alastair Bruce - who both spent the day beforehand scouting for locations - chat to the Queen as a photographer's assistant looks on

Instead, the Queen opted to wear the emerald-covered Vladimir Tiara. It was once owned by the Grand Duchess Vladimir, aunt of the last Russian Tsar Nicholas II, and was smuggled out of Russia during the Revolution.

The unpredictable Scottish weather – which included a downpour in the morning – also threatened to disrupt the carefully laid plans.

Fortunately, the Queen returned from lunch just in time for a brief, sunny spell.

Her Majesty, her dresser Angela Kelly, her chauffeur, and another member of the staff undertook the 25-minute drive to the location, where the photography team were putting the finishing touches to their preparations.

The magnificent scenes are part of more than 100 portraits in a new book, Keepers, a landmark publication to mark the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s Coronation. It is a spectacular history of Britain which charts our national story not through buildings or battles but through the human institutions that have shaped it.

The Queen at her desk at Balmoral. In front of her is a touching photograph of her as a young girl with her father, while behind her is a cuddly toy corgi and a Bakelite telephone which has no numbers as it connects directly to the switchboard

With her 18ft Robe of State draped around her and wearing the Diamond Diadem we see on stamps, the Queen sits in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace

Read more: Is this the most astonishing photoshoot of the Queen ever? Yes, it really IS Her Majesty as Queen of Scots amid the heather (moments before a midge invasion) | Mail Online

Read more: Photo of the Queen at her beloved Balmoral and marks the 60th anniversary of her Coronation. Robert Hardman tells the behind-the-scenes story | Mail Online

Robert Hardman on a new book - Keepers - about the eccentric roles which some people still perform in modern Britain:

Camilla and the Keepers of the country: From the Lady of the Isles to the Queen's Swan Marker, the weird and wonderful ancient roles that help keep British history alive

By Robert Hardman
24th May 2013
Daily Mail

Many years have passed since the Lord Paramount of Holderness last had to fire a golden coin on an arrow into the North Sea in order to ward off the Vikings; or since the Bearer of the Dog Whipper’s Rod last had to prevent badly behaved dogs from disturbing a service at Exeter Cathedral; or since a female member of the Fellowes family was last called upon to perform the role of Herb Strewer at a coronation.

But should their services suddenly be required tomorrow, there would be no problem. For they are all ancient offices which still have an incumbent who would be only too happy to step forward. Indeed, Britain has more unusual (some might say anachronistic) jobs, posts and ceremonial appendages than any nation on earth.

Yet, unlike other countries, we have seen no need to abolish them. A dearth of revolutions and the continuity engendered by a 1,000-year-old monarchy mean we still find room in public life for, say, both the Privy Council and the Perpetual Warden of the Woodmen of the Ancient Forest of Arden.

Of course, many people will find it vaguely comical to see a middle-aged gent in fancy dress upholding a ritual which some regard as obsolete, if not absurd.

Camilla becomes lady of the isles when in the Hebrides

From Gilbert and Sullivan to Monty Python, comedians have had a field day with job titles like the Queen’s Swan Marker – who monitors the welfare of the swans on the Thames and temporarily removes them during rowing regattas – or the Clerk of the Closet, who actually advises a monarch’s private secretary on candidates for the Roll of Chaplains to the Sovereign.

Yet they are all genuine footnotes to our history. Every esoteric title or gaudy uniform has a point.

What’s more, most of them don’t cost us a bean.

‘If an ancient building no longer performs its original purpose, we don’t just pull it down,’ explains Alastair Bruce, co-author of Keepers. ‘The same goes for all these offices and duties. Just like old buildings, they tell a story about who we are and where we came from.’

He points to the continued existence of the Bearer of the Dog Whipper’s Rod at Exeter Cathedral, currently a young verger called Anthony Turner. ‘As far back as the 14th century, dogs were a nuisance in churches and the first reference to a Dog Whipper at Exeter was in 1685.

No dogs have been whipped for years but the job has acquired a range of other duties and it still serves to tell us about the way life used to be in this country. Maybe we should call someone like this “canine controller” or just “junior verger”. But we’d be the poorer for it.’

Keepers is full of enchanting gems like this, intermingled with the high and mighty. So, on one page we might see the Duchess of Cornwall sitting in the ‘stumpery’ at Birkhall, the Prince of Wales’s home on the Balmoral estate, dressed as the Lady of the Isles.

(Whenever she or Prince Charles venture to the Hebrides, they then become the Lord and Lady of the Isles, a title created by Scotland’s King David II in 1336 and which eventually devolved to the elder son of the Scots monarch.)

On an adjacent page, we might find the Boy Bishop of Hereford or Cedric Robinson MBE, the Queen’s Guide Over Kent Sands in Morecambe Bay.

Although many of these titles have been inherited, their holders are not all landed aristocrats. Under the simple job description of ‘Duke’, we see the Duke of Northumberland in his ducal parliamentary robes on the ramparts of Alnwick Castle. But there are many others whose family fortunes have long since gone downhill.

The hereditary Lord High Admiral of the Wash no longer resides at Hunstanton Hall. Nor does he control all shipping and smuggling along the Wash, as the le Strange family were originally commanded to do in the 13th century.

The current Lord High Admiral, Michael le Strange Meakin (pictured far right), is the son of a vicar who inherited the title via his mother. Yet he still lives in the village of Hunstanton and still owns all the land between the high water mark and the distance that he can throw a spear.

Similarly, the hereditary Lord Marcher of Cemaes still appoints the Mayor of Newport, Pembrokeshire, and holds a thrice-yearly court – or ‘leet’ – in a local pub to allocate local grazing and water rights. Michael Campbell must still spend three nights a year in a ruined Argyllshire castle to retain the title of Hereditary Captain of Dunstaffnage. The Dymoke family of Scrivelsby, Lincolnshire, hereditary Queen’s Champions, still stand ready to fight a duel against anyone challenging the monarch’s right to reign.

And the Livingstone family of Lismore remain hereditary Barons of the Bachuil, keepers of a sacred 6th-century piece of blackthorn shaped like a hockey stick and called the Bachuil Mór, which was said to cure the plague.

The Lord High Admiral of the Wash surveys his land

The Bearer of the Dog Whipper's Rod assumes his ancient role

Jersey's Dame de Rosel must carry the monarch ashore

The Lord Paramount of Holderness fends off Vikings

A perilous task for the Queen's Guide Over Kent Sands

Read more: Camilla and the Keepers of the country: From the Lady of the Isles to the Queen's Swan Marker, the weird and wonderful ancient roles that help keep British history alive | Mail Online
Last edited by Blackleaf; May 26th, 2013 at 01:11 PM..