Photographer Shares Queen Elizabeth's 'Amazing Twist' to Avoid Having Her Hands in Pictures

Queen Elizabeth II is seen at the Chichester Theatre while visiting West Sussex on November 30, 2017
Queen Elizabeth II is seen at the Chichester Theatre while visiting West Sussex on November 30, 2017

Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II made the camera work for her!

On the latest episode of the Tea with Twiggy podcast, British photographer Rankin recalled what it was like to take the Queen's picture — and her specific stipulation about her hands being captured.

The artist, whose full name is John Rankin Waddell, was one of 10 photographers commissioned to take the monarch's portrait to commemorate her Golden Jubilee in 2002, according to the Royal Collection Trust. Rankin took the Queen's picture in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace and superimposed the Union Jack flag as the backdrop.

"I got a really amazing note recently for the exhibition of her where there's pictures of her through the decades, where the curator said my photograph of her is one of their favorites — which I think means the palace's favorite — because she's really laughing in my picture," Rankin told the host.

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FEBRUARY 02: Queen Elizabeth II is photographed at Sandringham House to commemorate Accession Day, marking the start of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee Year, on February 2, 2022 in Sandringham, Norfolk.
FEBRUARY 02: Queen Elizabeth II is photographed at Sandringham House to commemorate Accession Day, marking the start of Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee Year, on February 2, 2022 in Sandringham, Norfolk.

Chris Jackson/Getty

The celebrity photographer said he thoroughly researched the Queen before their meeting and hoped to capture her "really great sense of humor." When the day came to take her picture, Rankin recalled feeling "a wave of empowerment" when she walked into the Throne Room.

"I've never felt that aura. She was just so funny from the minute she walked in," he told Twiggy, 73. "I was like, 'I really want to photograph you holding the sword,' and she said, 'I don't like my hands.' And I was like, that's the best 'get out' for holding the sword," he added with a laugh. "I'm probably not supposed to say that, but what I loved about her is she's so, so smart and everything that she was saying had this amazing twist to it. It was just really brilliant."

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Rankin added that while they only spent about 10 minutes together, his interaction with the Queen had a lasting impact.

Queen Elizabeth often wore gloves during royal duties in her later years, though her hands were visible in the last photos of her released to the public. The Queen, who died in September at age 96, went without the accessory when she formally appointed Liz Truss at Balmoral Castle on Sept. 6.

ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Queen Elizabeth greets newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss as she arrives at Balmoral Castle for an audience where she will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government on September 6, 2022 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Queen broke with the tradition of meeting the new prime minister and Buckingham Palace, after needing to remain at Balmoral Castle due to mobility issues. (Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
ABERDEEN, SCOTLAND - SEPTEMBER 06: Queen Elizabeth greets newly elected leader of the Conservative party Liz Truss as she arrives at Balmoral Castle for an audience where she will be invited to become Prime Minister and form a new government on September 6, 2022 in Aberdeen, Scotland. The Queen broke with the tradition of meeting the new prime minister and Buckingham Palace, after needing to remain at Balmoral Castle due to mobility issues. (Photo by Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Jane Barlow - WPA Pool/Getty Queen Elizabeth and British prime minister, Liz Truss, two days before she died.

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Two days later, Buckingham Palace announced that the monarch died "peacefully" at her beloved Balmoral, hours after her doctors said they were "concerned" for her health. Her eldest son and successor, now known as King Charles III, immediately acceded her.