Buckingham Palace last week tried to prevent an official photographer from taking a picture of Prince Andrew escorting the Queen to Prince Philip’s funeral.
The Queen’s decision to ask Andrew to accompany her to the service was highly controversial as Andrew recently settled a court case with a woman who accused him of sexually abusing her. Although Andrew did not admit his guilt, he did pay Virginia Giuffre a sum of money allegedly in excess of $15 million. The Queen is said to have taken part of the severance pay from her personal fortune.
Although it was widely assumed that Andrew would attend his father’s memorial service, he was expected to enter Westminster Abbey with his children and sit with them.
In this case, he led the Queen to her seat by the arm before taking a seat next to Prince Edward in the front row.
Now the official ‘Rota’ photographer, who is tasked with capturing the event on behalf of all UK print media, has penned a first-person post The London Times In it, he describes how palace officials initially tried to prevent him from taking a picture of the queen until she was seated. This would have meant there would have been no stills of the Queen and Andrew as she made her way to her seat, although the entire service was televised live.
Photographer Richard Pohle wrote that he was “in a great panic” when he was “told by a Buckingham Palace press officer that I was unable to photograph the Queen’s arrival at Westminster Abbey. Only when she was seated did they say.”
Pohle said he tried to argue diplomatically that he should be allowed to take photos of their arrival as there had been significant interest in how the Queen would arrive, such as on her own two feet or in a wheelchair or stroller.
His arguments fell on deaf ears.
However, when word broke ten minutes before the service began that Andrew would be leading them inside, he wrote, “everything has changed” and he demanded permission to photograph what “was now the major news event’, bolstering his case by arguing that ‘the BBC broadcast the entire event live’.
The palace gave in – but when the congregation stood up for the Queen’s entry, Pohle was horrified to find that he couldn’t see the Queen and Andrew from his official position.
He writes: “Desperation commanded me to do something quickly. As the chorus began, I jumped off my footstool and quickly walked to the aisle between the seats across from where the Queen would be walking.
“To change suddenly from an official position while in a royal rota is the worst of sins. I brushed against the press secretary and felt a hand reach out to stop me, but I ran past and ducked in the middle of the aisle… I got the picture.”