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Her Majesty, The Queen, Elizabeth II (Blue)

2001
Polly Borland

type C photograph on paper, edition 4/6 + 3 A/P (image: 61.0 cm x 51.0 cm, sheet: 75.5 cm x 60.5 cm)

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1926–2022) was the eldest of the two daughters of the Duke and Duchess of York, who became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. Born in London, she was ten years old when the abdication of her uncle, Edward VIII, and her father’s accession to the throne made her heir presumptive. At 21 she married Philip Mountbatten, who was created HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. In 1952, they set out on a tour of the Commonwealth which was to have included Australia and New Zealand; but on the way, in Kenya, Elizabeth received news of her father’s death. Her coronation took place on 2 June 1953. In 2015, she surpassed the record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria to become Britain’s longest reigning monarch; and on 6 February 2022 she became the first ever British monarch to mark a Platinum Jubilee.

Melbourne-born Polly Borland was one of few photographers commissioned to take a portrait for Her Majesty’s Golden Jubilee in 2002. Borland was allowed five minutes for the shoot, which was to start as soon as the Queen was in front of the camera. ‘All of a sudden, I see this woman, who’s a lot more petite than I’d imagined, a lot more beautiful than I’d imagined, a lot richer than I’d imagined’, Borland says. ‘I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t remember anything’. Nevertheless, she shot two rolls of film in three minutes, resulting in two portraits. Both are now iconic for their witty, contemporary aesthetic, although the artist still thinks ‘it’s a miracle I got two good photos’.

Purchased 2021
© Polly Borland

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.
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Show transcript

Artist and subject

Polly Borland (age 42 in 2001)

Queen Elizabeth II (age 75 in 2001)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

© National Portrait Gallery 2022
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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency