In April, Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s longest-ruling monarch, marked the occasion of her 90th birthday by allowing legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz to shoot a series of intimate portraits at Windsor Castle. Now, Leibovitz discusses the photo shoot in the summer issue of Vanity Fair, which features the queen with her corgis on the cover and has another exclusive photo, and reveals what working with the queen was like behind the scenes.
“The most moving, important thing about this shoot,” Leibovitz said, “is that these were all her ideas. She wanted to be photographed with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren; her husband, Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh; her daughter, Anne, the Princess Royal; and her corgis. I was told how relaxed she was at Windsor, and it was really true. You get the sense of how at peace she was with herself, and very much enthralled with her family,” Leibovitz observed.
And Vanity Fair has some details on those cute corgis gracing the cover with the queen. Their names are Holly, Willow, Vulcan, and Candy. The corgi breed has been especially close to the queen’s heart for more than 60 years. In 1949, Queen Elizabeth II began breeding corgis — her first was Susan — and she has personally overseen 14 generations of corgis.
Read the full story and see more photos at Vanity Fair.