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New portrait of the Queen by acclaimed Scottish photographer Harry Benson

01 JULY 2014 A veteran Scottish photographer has told of his excitement at capturing the Queen for a new portrait.

Harry Benson
, who was awarded the prestigious commission by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, described the honour as "truly a highlight" of his career.

This year's portrait of the monarch was taken in the Audience Room at Buckingham Palace where she usually holds her weekly meeting with the Prime Minister.

In the image, Her Majesty is seen with a subtle smile and wearing a gold-and-diamond brooch featuring the thistle, the emblem of Scotland.


The new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II


Harry said: "To have been asked by the Scottish National Portrait Gallery to photograph the Queen for an official portrait is truly a highlight of my career.

"I first photographed Her Majesty in Scotland opening a coal mine in 1957, and thereafter visiting towns in Lanarkshire, Glasgow, Edinburgh, and the Western Highlands, and later in London at the opening of Parliament.

"It was always an honour and a privilege, but the most memorable was when I had the opportunity to take an official portrait in Buckingham Palace for the Scottish National Portrait Gallery.

"I was given the opportunity of selecting the colour and dress that the Queen would wear for the portrait. My teachers at the Eastwood School in Glasgow would be amazed!"

He first made his name taking pictures of famous personalities like the Beatles, and his iconic image of the Fab Four having a pillow fight in a hotel room 50 years ago is instantly recognisable.

During their tour of America the snapper also introduced John Lennon and his bandmates to Muhammad Ali back when he was still known as Cassius Clay.

Of that meeting, he said: "I set up this picture of Clay hitting them and the four of them toppling over and it became a very famous picture because you had two of the great icons of the 1960s in the same shot."

Harry, now based in New York, went on to photograph Mick Jagger, Michael Jackson, Nelson Mandela, Clint Eastwood, Kate Moss and Fred Astaire.

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