A PORTRAIT of the Queen by the renowned photographer David Bailey has been released to mark her 88th birthday today.
The photograph of the monarch, smiling, was taken at Buckingham Palace in March and commissioned on behalf of the government’s GREAT Britain campaign.
The image will be used to support the campaign, which aims to generate jobs and growth through highlighting Britain as a world-class destination for trade, tourism, investment and education.
The Queen is wearing pearls and a dress by Angela Kelly, who has served as personal assistant and senior dresser to her since 2002.
A Buckingham Palace source said: “Bailey’s name was suggested by Number 10 and the GREAT campaign, and the Queen agreed to sit for it in recognition of the work of the GREAT campaign.”
Bailey said: “I’ve always been a huge fan of the Queen. She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I’ve always liked strong women and she is a very strong woman.”
It is hoped that the image will encourage overseas visitors to enjoy Britain’s royal heritage.
Britain’s monarchy, including royal heritage and property, is one of the biggest drivers of tourism into the UK, generating an estimated £500 million per year from overseas tourism spend.
A further £600m to £800m of returns is forecast from activity in 2013-14.
The initiative was launched by Prime Minister David Cameron in September 2011 and is deployed by Britain’s diplomatic posts in 144 countries.
Bailey, 76, has photographed many subjects over more than half a century – actors, writers, musicians, film makers, designers, models, artists and people encountered on his travels.
Some of his most celebrated works have featured the London East End criminals the Kray twins, model Jean Shrimpton, who was a former girlfriend, actor Terence Stamp, the Beatles, Sir Mick Jagger and model Kate Moss.
Bailey, who grew up in the east end of London, made his name in the 1960s as one of a group of young photographers including Terence Donovan who documented the era in the capital and rubbed shoulders with stars from the worlds of the arts and fashion.
He graduated from being an assistant with fashion photographer John French in 1959, and made his name working for Vogue magazine, emerging as a chronicler of the Swinging Sixties, providing lasting images of a decade of change.
Celebrities he has photographed include Diana, Princess of Wales, Naomi Campbell, Jack Nicholson, Sir Michael Caine, Johnny Depp, Andy Warhol and Francis Bacon.
Bailey, whose four wives have included French actress Catherine Deneuve and model Marie Helvin, was appointed a CBE in the birthday honours list of 2001 for services to art.
His lengthy career is the subject of a major exhibition, Bailey’s Stardust, at the National Portrait Gallery in London, which is displaying 250 works chosen by the photographer.