For so many across the world, Queen Elizabeth II was a figure of stability and endurance, so her absence continues to feels very strange. In the UK, more recently caught in a vortex of political turbulence with 5 Prime Ministers in 7 years, The Queen reigned for 70 years. She represented calm, steadiness and devotion to service. As such a unique and abiding monarch, it is no surprise that The Queen appeared on more front covers of The Illustrated London News, The Sphere, The Tatler, Bystander and The Graphic than anyone else in British history. So on the first anniversary of The Queen’s death, we take SPHERE readers on a tour of our archives with a selection covering all aspects of her life.
First Anniversary of The Queen’s Death in SPHERE Covers
8th September 2023
8th September represents a poignant milestone, as we mark the first anniversary of The Queen's death. Her late Majesty The Queen was the most photographed woman in the world, so we judged it fitting to delve into the Illustrated London News’ archives for a nostalgic tour of some of our favourite covers of “The Sphere”, whose name inspired our title SPHERE today.
First Anniversary of The Queen’s Death: a Pictorial Tour
For a woman who was unshowy and self-contained, The Queen must have been bemused by her status as one of the world’s most photographed figures, but it is all she ever knew. From the day she was born, her every public move has been documented by the press, and none more affectionately and consistently than The Illustrated London News with many commissioned portraits. Founded in 1842 as the world’s first illustrated newspaper, the ILN shares with its sister titles, including The Sphere, a unique archive that reflects decades of special access to court events, State occasions and more intimate family gatherings. So on the first anniversary of The Queen’s death, it seems appropriate to feature some of our favourite covers.
The pictures in this collection capture The Queen’s earliest days as a young, carefree princess, her marriage and motherhood, as well as her Accession to the throne at a far younger age than anyone expected. From the pomp and splendour of the 1953 Coronation to State visits to every corner of the world, as well as glimpses of her private family life, the ILN’s archive covers every aspect of her life in rich and fascinating detail.
First Anniversary of the Accession of His Majesty King Charles
With a year passing from the death of one Monarch, it is inevitably also the anniversary of the accession of the next Monarch. His Majesty King Charles gave the following message, as he and Queen Camilla prepared to spend this day in quiet reflection at Balmoral, the royal residence so beloved of The Queen and where she died a year ago: “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.
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 term “love” after just a year may appear bold, even presumptuous to some, but it is indicative of the empathetic approach The King has displayed since the moment his reign commenced. His ability to connect with people at all levels and all backgrounds has been evident; the emotion he felt at his Coronation was palpable.
As the longest King-in-waiting, the world wondered whether Charles may be a transitional King, a caretaker monarch until the next generation takes over? It has been quite the reverse. He may be approaching his 75th birthday in November, but King Charles has displayed remarkable energy and verve, putting his individual stamp on the monarchy, while being careful not to rock any royal boats. It’s reported he is a workaholic and it’s a challenge for his aides to keep up with his pace.
A parallel can be drawn with his great-grandfather Edward VII, who also came to the throne after the then longest reign in British history, that of Queen Victoria. Edward’s 10-year reign was short compared with his mother’s, but within a short space of time he became one of the most popular monarchs to reign. The word “love” would not have been used by a monarch in the Edwardian era, but King Charles demonstrates in 2023 that he can be different and can use it credibly.
Special Offer for SPHERE Readers: THE RECORD REIGN
To mark The Queen becoming the longest reigning British monarch in 2015, ILN created a special edition double book set. commemorating British longest reigning monarchs, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria “THE RECORD REIGN”. We also commissioned a new portrait of The Queen by Alastair Barford, a QEST scholar and at the time completely unknown. It was hailed as one to the best likenesses of Her Majesty.
We offer both at a special price for SPHERE readers: The Mook set at £265 (RRP £295) and the portrait print, signed by the artist, at £135 (RRP £150) with discount code. Both are limited editions of 1,000.