Queen’s Visit to Ireland
Queen and Duke of Edinburgh in Ireland
I’ve been at Windsor Horse Show all week photographing the Queen and she certainly seems in good spirits. With the royal family on a high off the back of one of the most watched Royal events in recent history, the wedding of Prince William and Catherine Middleton, the Queen appears to be enjoying the royal family’s unprecedented surge in popularity. The Monarch, an avid horse enthusiast had a record amount of entries in the show and enjoyed spending much of her time keeping a close eye on their performance in the ring.
An extremely animated Duke of Edinburgh was spotted on a number of occasions racing around the castle grounds carriage driving as well as judging a number of the events, displaying a very active lifestyle in the run up to his 90th birthday next month and still maintaining an incredible enthusiasm for the event.
Continuing with the royal theme but of an entirely different nature; this week I am heading to Ireland to cover the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh’s first State visit.
I was last in (Northern) Ireland to photograph Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s Belfast visit whilst my previous visit to Dublin was to photograph the funeral of Boyzone singer Stephen Gately. Before that I covered the 250th Anniversary of Guinness, all extremely polarised events, so when I touch down in Dublin later today to cover the Queen’s historic visit to Ireland I shall be adding to the diversity of past Irish assignments.
Irish President Mary McAleese said yesterday that the Queen’s trip will be an “extraordinary moment” and “Emblematic of the progress that has been made between the two nations”. Despite this, unprecedented security operation has taken place in advance of the visit. The centre of Dublin will be turned in to a car-free zone (to prevent car bombs) as part of measures to protect the Queen after threats have been made by dissident Republican groups who made it clear they were intent on disrupting proceedings.These security measures are all part of the story and something I will be aiming to capture in my images. This level of security also creates a bit of a headache for photographers and the media – getting to venues early and putting up with rigorous security screenings and checks will all be a part of the week’s fun and games. And here’s someone not so keen on the Queen’s visit on my first day in Dublin.
The Queen’s visit will be the first time a monarch has visited Ireland since 1911, a historic event that has attracted over 1000 accredited media. Compare this to a recent tour of Canada I was on with the Queen and Duke where six British Photographers and four journalists reported on the trip. Beginning in Dublin and cumulating in Cork on Friday the Queen will be sung to by the Irish band Westlife as well as laying a wreath in Dublin’s Garden of Remembrance. She will also drop by Trinity College Dublin and even the Guinness Storehouse, where I’ve been reliably informed by my taxi driver you receive two free pints of the ‘black stuff’ maybe the Duke and the Queen will partake in a swift pint?!
As this is such a newsworthy event top Getty Images news snapper Oli Scarff is also traveling to Dublin where he will be keeping his eye out for a creative news angle on the story. Much of the key images from this trip will be pooled so it will be important for us to make sure get on as many of these as possible whilst working as a team to cover the engagements from different perspectives. It’s always a bonus when there is more than one photographer when security is tight travel between venues can be difficult and if one photographer can be advanced at the next event it enables us to cover as much of the day as possible. Many of the UK newspapers will be sending their staff photographers over to cover this event so the competition will certainly be on for the key images from the trip. It’s always exciting to be present at key historic moments such as this and with the Royal Wedding recently it has really been an exciting period to be working as a Royal Photographer.