This year marks the Queen of England’s 70th year on the throne, and to celebrate, officials are planning a rotating display featuring photos submitted by the public that have captured the royal family at public events.
Around 20 images at a time will be displayed at Kensington Palace starting March 4. Photographers including Rankin, Annie Leibovitz, Cecil Beaton and even the Duchess of Cambridge have already been named in the extended lineup, according to BBC.
One especially keen photographer, former newsstand worker Edward Jackson from King’s Lynn, Norfolk, religiously followed the royals — but he won’t be able to personally submit his entries this year, as he died in November.
However, his nephew Stephen Jackson, knowing of his uncle’s passion for photography and the royal family, decided to submit some in his honor.
When he started going through some of Edward’s photos, he was stunned by just how many there were.
He and his wife, Jo, discovered a makeshift darkroom in Edward’s house where they uncovered thousands of photographs, showcasing events from Christmas Day church walks to the Sandringham Flower Show.
Having discovered the sizeable collection, Stephen is hopeful that some of the best will make it to the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee “Life Through a Royal Lens” display, but that even more will make it into some sort of curated collection.
“I was very aware there was going to be a huge amount as I’d only ever known him with a camera round his neck but I didn’t realise just how many he had built up over the years,” Stephen said, according to BBC.
“We’ve been going through hundreds of family ones in the past few weeks and it’s been quite emotional and overwhelming.
“It’s a timeline of his life, you can feel him walking around and taking pictures all day. It’s been a real eye opener.”
Edward and Stephen had a close friendship through the years, a bond that made submitting Edward’s photos all the more important.
“It wasn’t Christmas for him without a trip to Sandringham,” Jo said of Edward. “He gave his car to Stephen when he passed his driving test at 17, and he’s now 46.
“Edward hadn’t had a car since, but he would cycle to Sandringham. I really feel his pictures need to be seen.”
Stephen says that the images have captured “so much social history” and that if his uncle were still around, “he would [be] doing the same thing.”
“If Edward was still here he definitely would have sent some in,” Stephen said, according to the Mirror. “We’ve picked half a dozen to send through.”
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