Photographer Rankin has revealed the story behind the famous portrait of the late Queen Elizabeth smiling for her Golden Jubilee, and the blunder that made the monarch laugh.
John Waddell, better known in the professional industry as Rankin, went on Lorraine this morning to speak about the stories behind his snaps.
The artist from St. Albans has photographed stars such as David Bowie, Madonna, Kate Moss and even The Rolling Stones, but when he got the call in 2002 and was asked to take a picture of the Queen, for her Golden Jubilee, Rankin said he thought it was a prank.
He told Lorraine: ‘When they phoned I thought it was a prank call. I was like “what me? Photographing the Queen? Are you sure you’re asking the right person?”.’
On the day, he suffered a technical issue and much to
‘I was one of ten photographers who did her Golden Jubilee I had prepared so much to meet her and I was sent to Buckingham Palace to shoot her in the Throne Room where they knight everybody.’
Rankin said he knew he wanted to get a photograph of the Queen smiling, because he had read that she had a ‘really good sense of humour’.
‘I was sitting there waiting for her to come and she walked down this really long corridor with this very very tall footman and they were laughing and I went “Yes! She’s going to be fun, she’s gonna have a sense of humour”,’ he said.
Rankin said that when the late Monarch walked into the room, there was an ‘overwhelming wave of empowerment’.
But halfway through photographing the Queen, Rankin was faced with a problem.
He said that when he started shooting her Majesty with his assistant, Matt, part of his camera fell off.
‘She started laughing and I was like to my assistant Matt, “Get the sync lead in” and in my head I was like, “Come on get it in!”, he said.
‘As he got it in, she stopped smiling. And I went, “No, Ma’am can you smile please!” and I kept saying, “Ma’am can you smile please?”. And then she smiled three times.’
However, the picture didn’t get used initially for the Golden Jubilee, as the Palace decided to go for a ‘half smile’ photograph instead.
When Lorraine asked whether Rankin would photograph King Charles, he replied: ‘I would love to.
‘I was actually asked to photograph him, I don’t know if he knew I was asked, but the Big Issue called me and asked [if I] would photograph the Prince of Wales at the time.
‘And I felt hmmm I don’t feel that that’s somebody I should photograph, you know, thinking I was pretty cool and I’m Scottish.
‘And so because I’m Scottish it was like I’m not sure if my mum and dad would like it. And then the minute I put the phone down I was said “No!”
‘You should never say no, you should always say yes, so I would love to photograph him.’
When asked by Lorraine about who he has always wanted to photograph, Rankin said that he has a ‘massive crush’ on Russell Crowe.
‘Even now, he’s a very beautiful actor and so I’ve always to photograph him. And I keep saying it in interviews until maybe he’ll say yes,’ he said.