Why Kate and William’s Official Photo Points to a Happier Future than Charles and Diana
Happy: William and Kate surrounded by, clockwise bottom right, The Hon. Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Miss Eliza Lopes, Miss Grace van Cutsem, Lady Louise Windsor, Master Tom Pettifer, Master William Lowther-Pinkerton
The echoes of a Royal wedding from an earlier era are difficult to ignore.
The backdrop is the same: the opulent red-and-gold decor of the grand Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. And the mischievous smiles on the faces of some of the bridesmaids and page boys – and endearingly bewildered expressions on the others – are strikingly similar.
But, 30 years after the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer, the official wedding picture of Prince William and Kate Middleton also reflects the differences between the two couples’ relationships.
The 1981 wedding party. From back, Prince Andrew, Prince Edward, Diana and Charles, Edward van Cutsem; front: Lord Nicholas Windsor, Clementine Hambro, Catherine Cameron, India Hicks, Sarah-Jane Gaselee and Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones
The photograph of Charles and Diana, taken by Patrick Lichfield, seemed to capture a moment of spontaneous informality, with the wedding party collapsing in a fit of giggles. But, as we now know, the warmth was not reflected in the marriage itself.
By contrast, Kate and William’s picture, by photographer Hugo Burnand, appears more formal, despite little Tom Pettifer’s insistence on leaning in as close to the bride as possible.
Full of joy and not a care in the world: William and Kate smile broadly as they stand arm-in-arm in the official wedding album
Despite the organised nature of their shot, they look relaxed, their smiles unforced, and her hand rests on his knee.
Mario Testino may have received praise for his engagement portraits of William and Kate, but their choice of Hugo Burnand to take their official wedding pictures has cemented the latter’s status as the Royal Family’s favourite photographer.
Mr Burnand, 47, has been entrusted with capturing many of the Royals’ most important occasions in recent years, including Prince Charles’s 60th birthday and his marriage to Camilla. He has also won the respect of the Queen and Princes William and Harry after taking their pictures on previous occasions.
The family photo: Front row left to right is Grace van Cutsem, Eliza Lopes, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Queen, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Louise Windsor, William Lowther-Pinkerton. Back Row left to right is Tom Pettifer, Camilla, Charles, Prince Harry, Prince William and Kate, Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, James Middleton and Philippa Middleton
An Old Harrovian and seasoned society photographer known for his charm and discretion, as well as his talent for portraits, Mr Burnand represents a more traditional choice than Mr Testino, who is famed for his glossy celebrity and fashion photoshoots.
However, Mr Burnand has photographed his share of A-listers, including Bill Clinton, President Mikhail Gorbachev, Baroness Thatcher, Victoria Beckham and Michael Jackson. He was also responsible for taking the pictures at the 1996 wedding of David and Samantha Cameron.
The Royal Wedding commission was a major coup for the London-based father of four, who has worked at Tatler magazine since 1993.
Yesterday, he described it as ‘the gig of the century’, adding: ‘It was amazing, incredible, and there were a couple of moments where I did pinch myself.’
Of the mood in the Throne Room, he said: ‘From where I was, and from their point of view, it was two families coming together and that was the feeling – the sense of family and love going between everyone.’
He described the happy couple as ‘just so nice as individuals and as a pair’, and revealed that Kate, who has worked as a photographer for her parents’ company Party Pieces, had contributed her own ideas for the pictures.
Mr Burnand got to know Prince William when he photographed him on his polo pony and at Windsor Castle as part of the wedding party for his father’s second marriage in 2005.
He shares with the Prince a tragedy in his past: he, too, lost his mother in a car accident. Susan Gordon died in 1964, the year after he was born.
His stepmother Ursy Burnand, whom his father Peter married in 1967, is also a photographer – and was one of his assistants on the Royal Wedding shoot.
Born in Cannes, France, Mr Burnand won his first photography competition at the age of seven, at Cheam School, which was also attended by Prince Philip and Prince Charles.
During his time at Harrow, he became the school’s unofficial photographer, taking portraits of school-leavers.
He did not become a professional photographer until 1991, after a string of jobs including stable hand and insurance broker.