New book celebrates couple who photographed Queen from infancy to motherhood

PUBLISHED: 08:28 14 May 2019

Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, hugs her Corgi in Informally Royal. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

Princess Elizabeth, now Queen Elizabeth II, hugs her Corgi in Informally Royal. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

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Royal photographers from Welwyn Garden City are celebrated in a new book charting Queen Elizabeth II from her childhood to motherhood.

Studio Lisa captures Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Prince Charles in 1952. Photo: The History Press.Studio Lisa captures Princess Anne, Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip and Prince Charles in 1952. Photo: The History Press.

'Informally Royal', by Rodney Laredo, tells the story of how photographic pair Lisa and Jimmy Sheridan were welcomed by the Royal Family for 13 private sessions over the span of more than 30 years.

The pair's Studio Lisa took the first informal pictures of the Duke and Duchess of York - later King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother - and their children Princess Elizabeth and Margaret at their royal homes in Royal Lodge and 145 Piccadilly, London.

"They were the same age as the Duke and Duchess, at the time, and they had two daughters so this allowed them to develop a harmonious and professional kingship," Rodney, friend of the Sheridan family for more than 40 years and author of the book, told the WHT at a Waterstones book signing in Welwyn Garden City on Thursday.

The relationship was so comfortable the Queen Mother was said to remark, on the possibilities of going with another photographer, "No. Let's keep it in the family. Let's have the Sheridans back."

Book being shown at Welwyn Waterstones event. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Book being shown at Welwyn Waterstones event. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

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Lisa and Jimmy were first contacted, out of the blue, by a royal dog writer that enjoyed pictures they had taken of other animals, and asked if they would go along and photograph the royal family's corgis.

Owing to the success of this initial photo shoot, Lisa and Jimmy then took shots of Elizabeth and Margaret hugging their corgis and on the backs of their father the Duke of York, iconic shots which and are still used today.

Lisa was certainly the brains behind the business, Rodney says, as she knew how to innovate. "She looked ahead at what was needed in terms of stock images, which the couple then sold to advertisers and newspapers of the day."

Rodney Laredo signing for fans at Waterstones. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.Rodney Laredo signing for fans at Waterstones. Picture: Charlotte McLaughlin.

But WGC's royal connection does not end with Studio Lisa, chairman of the Welwyn Garden City Heritage Trust Tony Skottowe, points out.

The Queen Mother instructed her driver, apparently, to take the car over the white bridge on the way to Parkway, in Welwyn Garden City, as it "was the finest view in the world".

Queen Victoria I did not enjoy another view as much and asked to be decamped at Welwyn Garden City station as she was supposedly afraid of Welwyn's viaduct. "I can see that as being true without any trouble at all," Tony says.

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