Queen giggling at Prince Philip in uniform in iconic photo: Here’s the heartwarming story of what made her laugh

Photographer Chris Young was the only photographer at an event there -- a review of the Grenadier Guards' elite Queen's Company regiment at Windsor Castle. After capturing the iconic moment, he shared the true story behind it


                            Queen giggling at Prince Philip in uniform in iconic photo: Here’s the heartwarming story of what made her laugh
Queen Elizabeth II gets a fit of the giggles as she walks past her husband Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is standing to attention in his uniform and bearskin hat at Buckingham Palace (Getty Images)

Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh and the husband of Queen Elizabeth II died on Friday, April 9, at Windsor Castle in England at the age of 99. Philip and Elizabeth got married on November 20, 1947. At the time, he was 26, and the then-young crown princess was 21.

In the more than 73 years of their marriage, the seriousness of British royal customs has often managed to hide their relationship’s depth and how the two cherished each other. But once in a while, a photo here and there did capture that. And no photo is more iconic than the one that saw Queen Elizabeth II get a fit of the giggles as she walked past Prince Philip, who was standing to attention in his uniform and bearskin hat at Buckingham Palace in 2003.

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What’s the story behind the photo?

As per a BBC report, photographer Chris Young, working for the Press Association in 2003, was the only photographer at the event there -- a review of the Grenadier Guards' elite Queen's Company regiment at Windsor Castle. Per the report, he had moved away from the spot he had been allocated, reportedly to a better vantage point, and waited with guests until the Queen emerged. 

As colonel of the regiment, the duke was standing in full uniform, as he prepared to accompany the Queen. At this point, Young reportedly became aware of a swarm of bees. "I got lucky," said Young. "I recognized that it was a human moment. She was giggling like a little girl and he was laughing too. I thought the reaction from both of them was pretty unique. Some of the guests were unsure as to whether they should move, but eventually, everyone had to beat a retreat." A royal beekeeper was subsequently summoned to take care of the bees. 

Young told the BBC that he was delighted to catch the royal couple off-guard. At the same time, however, he also said that he was keenly aware of his responsibility -- as a pool photographer, whose pictures would be syndicated -- Young was the only journalist present with a camera. "It can be nerve-wracking... if you mess it up no one gets a picture of the event," he said.

Queen Elizabeth ll and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh arrive in an open carriage on Ladies Day at Royal Ascot on June 16, 2011, in Ascot, England. (Getty Images)

Young said that after the event when he filed the photographs to the picture desk where he worked and was about to board a train back to London, his editor called to say there had been a lot of interest and asked for other photos he had taken. So Young went to a nearby cafe to send photos of the royal couple reacting to a swarm of bees. The main picture made the front pages of a number of newspapers the following day. 

Buckingham Palace, in its official statement, mentioned that the Queen was experiencing “deep sorrow” in the wake of Philip’s passing. Relatives of the family have called the Queen's loss "incalculable."

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