EDEN CONFIDENTIAL: Earl of Snowdon’s picnic snap of Charles and Diana gets a royal drubbing in National Portrait Gallery’s book for King’s Coronation
Society snapper the Earl of Snowdon became de facto official photographer of the Royal Family after his marriage to Princess Margaret.
But his celebrated image of Prince Charles and Diana enjoying a picnic with Princes William and Harry gets a drubbing in the National Portrait Gallery’s official book marking the King’s Coronation.
In the foreword to Charles III: The Making Of A King, the gallery’s chief curator, Dr Alison Smith, writes that the bucolic 1991 scene is ‘a rather forced throwback to the kind of conversation piece favoured by the English aristocracy in the 18th century, right down to the horse in the background and oak tree suggesting endurance.
‘With hindsight the sheer contrivance and artificiality of the composition serves to underscore the pretence of harmonious family life at a time when the relationship between the couple was under strain.’
The gallery was less critical of Lord Snowdon’s work when he donated 130 original prints to it in 2014. It showed its gratitude with an exhibition of his work. Indeed, upon his death in 2017, then-director Nicholas Cullinan said Snowdon’s ‘contribution to photography has been profound and far-reaching’.
Earl Snowdon’s celebrated image of Prince Charles and Diana enjoying a picnic with Princes William and Harry gets a drubbing in the National Portrait Gallery’s official book marking the King’s Coronation
Far more successful at revealing ‘the man behind the mask,’ of King Charles, in Dr Smith’s view, is a 2018 photo of him and Queen Camilla, taken by Alex Lubomirski.
This image finds the couple at ‘affectionate ease in each other’s company. Camilla’s hand on Charles’s thigh adds an intimate touch, in delicate breach perhaps of the royal code of not touching in public’.
Cate’s new look is … eye-catching!
She is one of the world’s biggest film stars, but double Oscar winner Cate Blanchett was almost unrecognisable as she took a stroll round London in a pair of huge orange glasses.
Seemingly free of make-up, the 53-year-old actress looked a far cry from this year’s Academy Awards ceremony, where she wore a shimmering 1980s-inspired Louis Vuitton outfit, right.
Blanchett, who was twice nominated for Oscars for playing Elizabeth I, lost out on the Best Actress prize this year to Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once. Married to playwright Andrew Upton, with whom she has four children, Blanchett moved to Britain in 2015. The couple live in a manor house in East Sussex.
Perhaps the over-sized specs were a tribute to fellow Australian Dame Edna Everage?
Cate Blanchett was almost unrecognisable as she took a stroll round London in a pair of huge orange glasses
Blanchett, who was twice nominated for Oscars for playing Elizabeth I, lost out on the Best Actress prize this year to Michelle Yeoh in Everything Everywhere All At Once
Expect tears before bedtime at Charlotte Church’s ‘wellness’ retreat at a £1.5million mansion in Wales. ‘One of my favourite things we do is celestial blessings, where we go out and dance up the dawn with a silent disco,’ the singer says. ‘It’s amazing — some of us are wildly dancing, others are crying at the beauty of the whole situation. It really is a wonderland.’
Royal architect Sir James Dunbar-Nasmith, who died on Saturday aged 96, designed Sunninghill Park, which was given as a wedding present by Queen Elizabeth to her second son, Prince Andrew, and his bride, Sarah Ferguson.
It was criticised as looking like a Tesco supermarket and nicknamed ‘SouthYork’ in reference to the ‘Southfork’ estate in U.S. soap opera Dallas. However, Andrew managed to sell it for £15 million in 2007, £3 million more than the asking price, to a businessman from Kazakhstan.
It will not, however, stand as a monument to Sir James because the owner was granted planning permission to demolish it in 2013.
Countess: Why Althorp can feel a little bit dead
Earl Spencer was not invited to his daughter Lady Amelia’s wedding in South Africa this week, and his Canadian wife, Karen, is trying to brighten up ancestral seat, Althorp.
She likes to fill the Northamptonshire stately home, where Princess Diana grew up, with flowers to counter its ‘dead’ and museum-like atmosphere.
‘It feels so different when you have flowers in this house,’ says Countess Spencer, 50, who is the third wife of historian Charles, 58.
‘The flowers bring the room to life because it can feel a tiny bit museum-y and it can feel a little bit dead. But when you get the flowers in there it brings the room to life in a different way.’
Karen, the Canadian wife of Earl Spencer is trying to brighten up ancestral seat, Althorp
Known as one of Hollywood’s biggest hell-raisers, Johnny Depp has revealed that he prefers a quiet life in the West Country, where he bought an 850-acre estate, complete with 19th-century mansion.
‘I just love places with character,’ he says. ‘British people are cool and will greet you as if you are a neighbour — without going over the top. I like going to places, seeing things and meeting people — but I’m not the great extrovert that people think.’
Depp, 59, adds: ‘In truth, I’m quite a shy person. That’s one of the great things about Britain, and especially Somerset. I can just be me — and that’s nice.
‘I can go into shops without being surrounded by people wanting selfies. I don’t mind that up to a point, but sometimes it gets a little too crowded.’
Do you dream of being invited to Buckingham Palace to collect an honour? Well, Griff Rhys Jones complains it was a frightful bore.
‘I should warn everybody, if you’re like me —a sort of hyperactive person—– the actual business of going to the palace to pick up the bit of metal is quite a long, drawn-out thing,’ wails the comedian, 69, who was handed his OBE by Prince William in 2019.
‘The presiding royal member, as they should do, is standing for an entire day and having a little chat with members of the Civil Service, who finally got their [honour].
‘You’re standing in the queue going, ‘Come on, come on — I didn’t think it was going to take this long’.’
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