FRED LESLIE’S PHOTOGRAPH OF HER MAJESTY, QUEEN ELIZABETH II
On July 6th 2010, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada,
and His Royal Highness, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh visited Queen’s Park in central Toronto. Meryl and I planned to see
them and hopefully take some photographs. About a week before the Queen’s visit, we received an email message from the
Monarchist League of Canada, of which Meryl and I are Life Members, stating that the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, The
Honourable David Onley was making available a limited number of spaces in his reserved enclosure in the Park, which would provide
an advantaged position to see the Queen. Our names were selected in a draw to occupy two spaces.
We received some detailed instructions about the event by email. Our arrival time was stated and if late, we would not be allowed into
the Park. One point which was a bit worrysome to us was that we should be prepared to stand up for a couple of hours.
July 6th was a hot, humid day in Toronto and the possibility of having to stand for two hours was foremost in
our minds. We were directed to the enclosure where we would stand. There is a walkway through the Park,
which was lined on both sides with metal barriers similar to those erected for a parade. We were able to stand
directly behind our barrier with no one in front of us. Almost instantly we became aware that we were standing
under the spreading branches of an old oak tree which protected us from the sun and a gentle cool breeze
wafted across the lawn; the position was perfect. We had a walker with us on which we took turns sitting.
We waited for about one hour and then the Queen and her entourage approached. Meryl and I were ready
with our cameras. When the Queen was at a respectable distance, I leaned over the barrier and looked at the
screen on the camera but all I could see was Meryl’s arm. At that moment the Queen was occupied passing
back to an aide, a bouquet of flowers which she had received from a young girl. I leaned further out over the
barrier and had a clear view of Queen Elizabeth II. She turned to continue on and saw me taking her
photograph. She did not seem to be the least bit concerned in spite of being only a few metres away. This
allowed me time for only one exposure. The resulting photograph was quite pleasing and I received many positive comments about it from family
members and friends. It was then that I decided to share the photograph with Her Majesty. I mailed her a copy
with a covering letter on August 5th, 2010 and two days before Christmas I received a reply from Senior
Correspondence Officer at Buckingham Palace. In the letter, in part, she wrote, and I quote:
“The Queen has asked me to thank you for your letter. It was very kind of you to enclose a copy of the
photograph you took of Her Majesty during her visit to Canada earlier this year. I am to convey the Queen’s
warm wishes to you and your wife for the festive season.”
The letter was signed by the Senior Correspondence Officer.
Taking a photo of Her Majesty proved to be an interesting, challenging and a very rewarding experience.
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