The picture is one of a series of intimate photographs, which will go on public display at Windsor Castle from today. In the portrait the Queen looks "relaxed but at the same time quite energised," comments royal curator Sophie Gordon
Photo: © Empics
Click on photos for gallery

Decades earlier as a young mother gazing at her first-born son, Charles
Photo: © Empics


3 APRIL 2006

Relaxed but regal and with a warm twinkle in her eye, the Queen shows she still has plenty of zest for life in a portrait released to mark her 80th birthday celebrations.

The black and white picture, taken by veteran photographer Jane Brown - who turned 80 herself last year - is the centrepiece of an exhibition at Windsor Castle ahead of the monarch's special day on April 21.

"You get the feeling it captures a real moment in time," comments royal curator Sophie Gordon."It's a vibrant portrait and the Queen certainly doesn't look her 80 years."

The public display of over 100 photos includes a mixture of iconic and informal shots, which reveal the many facets of her role and personality.

Included are images of a young Elizabeth posing in a Colonel's uniform to help the war effort, and some years later on her wedding day. There is also an intimate family picture in which she gazes lovingly at her first-born son Charles in 1948.

In one unguarded moment on the Royal Yacht Britannia in 1972 the Queen is captured laughing because Lord Lichfield has just been dunked in the on-board swimming pool. Wearing a pair of sunglasses and giggling in the bright light, the royal shows off film-star looks reminiscent of her sister Margaret.

Visitors can also see a more recent informal snap of the keen sportswoman with her favourite horses and a series of close-ups taken by Prince Andrew in 2002 to mark the Golden Jubilee.

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