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Rare Queen Elizabeth II portrait unveiled on anniversary of her death

The picture was first shown in November 1968, returned to the archives in March 1969, and remained unseen until now.
Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 1968
Posted at 8:43 AM, Sep 08, 2023

Britain is marking the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's death and King Charles III's accession with gun salutes, tolling bells, and the release of a portrait that has not been seen in over 50 years. 

On Sept. 8, 2022, Queen Elizabeth II, the U.K.'s longest-reigning monarch, passed away at the age of 96. A year later, King Charles fondly remembered his mother as a symbol of stability during her 70-year reign by releasing a very rare portrait of the queen, captured by Cecil Beaton in October 1968.

"In marking the first anniversary of Her late Majesty’s death and my Accession, we recall with great affection her long life, devoted service and all she meant to so many of us," said the king in a press release. "I am deeply grateful, too, for the love and support that has been shown to my wife and myself during this year as we do our utmost to be of service to you all."

The image was taken at Buckingham Palace, and the Queen, then 42, is seen softly smiling to the camera as she wears the royal regalia, including a velvet cape and the Vladimir Tiara, a headpiece with intercepting diamond circles and pendant pearls hanging from each circle.

According to the Palace, the picture was first displayed at the National Portrait Gallery in November 1968, returned to the archives in March 1969, and remained unseen until now.

To honor the late Queen, a gun salute took place Friday morning at Hyde Park in London, while King Charles and Queen Camilla attended a remembrance service at a nearby small church, the same place where the late queen used to worship. Camilla and Charles will continue to spend the rest of the day at their family estate in Scotland.

As for the rest of the royal family, William and Kate, the prince and princess of Wales, will travel to St. Davids in southwestern Wales, where they will hold a private serviceat the historic St. Davids Cathedral.

Meanwhile, Prince Harry traveled from California to the U.K. for the annual WellChild Awards, a charity that helps seriously ill children get treatment, on Thursday, where he gave a speech remembering his grandmother.

"As you know, I was unable to attend the awards last year as my grandmother passed away," Harry said. "She would have been the first person to insist that I still come to be with you all instead of going to her. And that's precisely why I know, exactly one year on, she is looking down on all of us tonight, happy we're together, continuing to spotlight such an incredible community."

It's not clear if Harry will be meeting the rest of the family during his trip to the U.K.

Furthermore, military units will mark the king's accession with salutes at the Tower of London and Green Park in the capital. Westminster Abbey's bells will ring at 1 p.m.

Corgis in regal attire marked Queen Elizabeth II's death anniversary
Ruffus a Cardiganshire Corgi.

Corgis in regal attire marked Queen Elizabeth II's death anniversary

Queen Elizabeth II became the most famous corgi owner in history. She owned more than 30 corgis in her lifetime.