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Royal photographer Chris Jackson reveals what it's really like to go on tour – and what happens when things don't go to plan

Chris has spent the past 15 years photographing the royals

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Getty Images photographer Chris Jackson has had the privilege to capture various historic moments in royal life over the past 15 years. Now his fascinating archive has been turned into a glossy coffee-table book, Modern Monarchy: The British Royal Family Today, offering readers a glimpse into that world. The book covers themes such as the importance of remembrance, charity events, big historic moments, dressing for duty and the royal diary.

"It's about the tradition that makes the Royal Family what it is, as well as how it's diversifying and moving forward into a new world, embracing things like social media and the young royals and their passion for charity," Chris tells HELLO!. "It's amazing when you get the opportunity to work in those areas, where the stories you're telling and the pictures I'm taking are making a difference, they're spreading the word. It's an incredible privilege to be involved in that world."

kate middleton bhutan tour© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess of Cambridge fires an arrow during a tour of Bhutan in 2016

Chris has visited more than 100 countries and used up five passports in pursuit of the perfect royal photograph. Speaking exclusively to HELLO!, he reveals what it's really like to go on tour with the royals – and what happens when things don't go to plan. "It's a privilege to go to these places because you're not going as a tourist, you're going in a special bubble," said Chris, 38. "People come out to these events to meet the royal family. That's something I definitely don't take for granted."

One of his bucket list places was the Galapagos Islands, which he visited in 2009 with Prince Charles and Camilla. "We met Lonesome George, the last remaining Pinta Island Tortoise on the planet. He's now extinct, so it was amazing to meet him," said Chris. "Another extraordinary trip was to the Solomon Islands. There's a great picture of the Duchess of Cambridge in a canoe on the way to Tuvanipupu and the locals thought it was very funny to put a papier-mâché shark in the water behind it."

chris jackson book

Chris Jackson's book Modern Monarchy: The British Royal Family Today is out on 9 October

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On the less glamorous side of travelling, Chris said: "We're very lucky to go to some incredible places, but they can be challenging these tours – really hard work, travel, luggage, you're rushing around. But when you get back from a day like that with great photos, it's just such a buzz." On escaping the royal bubble, he added: "Whenever I'm going on royal tours I always pack a pair of trainers and try and get running. You don't have time for sightseeing in these places, so if you can fit in a quick 40 minutes, it's like speed sightseeing."

camilla parker bowles Mumbai© Photo: Getty Images

The Duchess of Cornwall during her trip to Mumbai in 2013

Chris, whose pregnant wife Natasha Archer works as a PA to the Duchess of Cambridge, also revealed what happens when things don't go to plan. "There have been various events in the UK where it's been really windy and an umbrella has blown inside out. The Duchess of Cornwall has got a great sense of humour in situations like that. She'll definitely always see the funny side," said Chris.

"There was an unexpected moment when the Queen met Donna the elephant at Whipsnade Zoo. The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh were going to feed Donna a banana, but I loved the moment where Donna was trunk outstretched trying to grab a banana in anticipation and it just made a great, long picture, which I think was front page of a couple of papers next day."

the queen elephant© Photo: Getty Images

The Queen meets Donna the elephant at Whipsnade Zoo

He added: "I love photographing them with animals, it often ties in with charitable endeavours or the country they are visiting and ALWAYS makes for fantastic and fun pictures. I've done the Duchess of Cornwall with a kangaroo, the Duke of Cambridge with rhinos, Prince George with a bilby, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall with koalas, the Prince of Wales and a spider. Harry and William with a huge snake in Botswana at a Tusk Trust event. That was a great picture."

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Modern Monarchy: The British Royal Family Today, by Chris Jackson is published by Rizzoli for £35 on 9 October.

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