Prince George is as cute as a button in his official Christmas portrait. (He’s even wearing toy soldiers on his tiny sweater vest.) The picture was taken by his mother, Kate Middleton, at Kensington Palace in late November 2014.
King George V and Queen Mary’s son, George, Duke of York (the future King George VI) and his wife Elizabeth, Duchess of York, welcomed their first child and future Queen, Princess Elizabeth on April 21, 1926. In this photo, the royal couple looks dotingly at their daughter at her christening, a month after she was born.
Prince George smiles while holding his newborn sister, Princess Charlotte, who was born on May 2, 2015. Kate Middleton captured the photo when her daughter was less than a month old, at the Duke and Duchess’ country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, England.
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Middle row, left to right: Princess Margaret, The Queen, the Earl of St. Andrews, Princess Anne, Marina Ogilvy, Princess Alexandra and James Ogilvy.
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Elizabeth and Philip share a sweet moment on their wedding day. The couple tied the knot at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. The future Queen’s wedding gown included 10,000 seed pearls and a 15-foot train.
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Princess Charlotte plays with a stuffed toy at Anmer Hall in November 2015. The adorable candid was taken by Kate Middleton in Sandringham, England.
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Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837-1901, was Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother. She was the first British sovereign to embrace photography as a means of making the royal brand accessible to the public, since the medium was introduced shortly after she ascended the throne. She and her husband, Prince Albert (pictured), became champions of the new art form.
Queen Elizabeth II sits in front of her son Prince Charles (second in line for the throne) and Prince William (third in line for the throne) at the 50th anniversary of her coronation. The photo was taken at Clarence House, Charles’ official residence.
Front row (left to right) Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, Prince Edward and Lady Helen Windsor.
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Charles and Diana wed on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. After the ceremony, the newlyweds posed for photos with their family members, including the Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, Diana’s mother Frances Shand Kydd and her father John Spencer.
Royal portraiture is a longstanding tradition that’s survived for centuries, but the medium has changed almost as much as the British monarchy has. Here, we highlight some standout images over eight generations of the British royal family, spanning from Queen Victoria’s reign (when photography was first introduced), to Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood, to Princess Charlotte’s early years. From rigidly posed portraits to sweet candids, take a look at these official royal snaps.
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Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, the Queen and Prince Philip enjoy a summer vacation at Balmoral Castle in August 1972. This image is from a series of photographs taken to celebrate the Queen and Prince Philip’s 25th wedding anniversary.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome their first child, Prince George, on July 22, 2013. The new parents pose with their firstborn at the Middletons’ family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
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The immediate royal family poses for an official portrait celebrating the coronation of King George VI, Elizabeth II’s father. The picture was taken by Hay Wrightson at Buckingham Palace.
Back row, left to right: Tom Pettifer, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince Harry (the best man), Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, James Middleton and Pippa Middleton.
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Nine years after divorcing Diana, Prince Charles was remarried to Camilla Parker Bowles. The couple wed in a civil ceremony on April 8, 2005. The Queen didn’t attend the nuptials, but was present at the reception afterwards.
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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are all smiles with their two children in late October 2015 at home at Kensington Palace. The family chose this portrait for their Christmas card later that holiday season.
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Front row, left to right: Grace van Cutsem, Eliza Lopes, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Louise Windsor and William Lowther-Pinkerton.
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Queen Elizabeth II, her mother and Princess Margaret pose for an official portrait in matching cobalt satin jackets. Nearly two decades later, in 2002, Margaret and the Queen Mother passed away less than a month apart from each other.
Front row: Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth (who would later become Queen Elizabeth II).
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth have a picnic with their children, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and Prince Andrew, at Balmoral Castle, the royal family’s Scottish holiday home. The estate is believed to be Her Majesty’s favorite residence. It’s where she and the family take their annual summer holidays.
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The royal couple welcomed Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984. Here, Charles, the Prince of Wales, has a silly moment with his two sons at home in Kensington Palace.
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This photo, taken at the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, features the married couple with Prince Harry, Prince William (the best man), Prince Philip, the Queen, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles and Camilla’s father, Bruce Shand.
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Queen Elizabeth II is the head of the British royal family. Elizabeth is married to the Duke of Edinburgh and her heir is Prince Charles. Prince William is second in line to succeed the Queen and Prince George is third in line.
A young Queen Elizabeth II, Philip Mountbatten, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, King George VI and Princess Margaret pose in July 1947 in the royal apartments to celebrate Elizabeth and Philip’s engagement. Philip reportedly proposed with a three-carat diamond ring that consisted of a center stone flanked by 10 smaller diamonds.
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Elizabeth II and her sister had a close-knit relationship and “a love, friendship, and conspiracy that were impressive to behold,” according to Vanity Fair. Margaret reportedly had a direct phone line at Kensington Palace to her older sister, which she’d often use to chat and gossip with her sibling.
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Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne the year after her father, King George VI, passed away. Here, she’s pictured on her coronation day with Prince Philip, Princess Margaret and Elizabeth the Queen Mother, dressed in full regalia, at Buckingham Palace after the ceremony.
Back row, from left to right: Mary, the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Gloucester, Queen Mary, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Kent, the Duchess of Kent and the Queen of Norway.
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The royal family poses for 14-year-old Prince William’s confirmation. Prince Harry, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, the Queen, King Constantine, Lady Susan Hussey, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Westminster and Lord Romsey join William for the portrait, taken at Windsor Palace.
Lady Diana Spencer—later known as Diana, Princess of Wales—and Prince Charles pose outside Buckingham Palace to celebrate their engagement. The bride-to-be flaunts her ring, featuring an oval sapphire surrounded by blue diamonds.
The royals take great candids, too, like this photo taken the day after Christmas in 1971 at Windsor Castle.
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A young Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret pose with Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The mother-daughter trio sport floral ’40s-style dresses and matching pearls for the portrait.
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The royals pose for a family portrait outdoors. Queen Mary, King George VI, Princess Elizabeth and Elizabeth the Queen Mother are seated in the front row, while the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Margaret, Princess Mary the Countess of Harewood, the Duchess of Kent and Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood stand behind them.
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King George V, Elizabeth II’s grandfather, ruled Britain from 1910 (following the death of his father, Edward VII) until his passing in 1936. Here, he’s pictured with his wife, Queen Mary, formerly Princess Mary of Teck, at the Robing room of the House of Lords.
Princess Margaret, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Elizabeth and King George VI pose for a family portrait at Buckingham Palace. The royal daughters match in gray blazers, pleated skirts and peach button-down shirts.
Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Queen Elizabeth II pose for a family portrait at Sandringham House, Her Majesty’s country home near Norfolk, England. The photo was taken ahead of their royal tour to Australia and New Zealand.
Back row, left to right: the Earl of Snowdon, the Duchess of Kent and Lord Nicholas Windsor, the Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Angus Ogilvy.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, tied the knot at Westminster Abbey. Their official family portrait was taken in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.
Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry pose for a portrait at home in Kensington Palace with their dog. Harry’s mischievous smile is too cute—and so are his and William’s matching shoes.
King Edward VII, who ruled from 1901 to 1910, and Queen Alexandra are Queen Elizabeth II’s great grandparents. Here, the couple poses at the State Opening of Parliament in London in regalia. Like her in-laws, Queen Alexandra was also an avid fan of photography.
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