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the history of portraits of Elizabeth II

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Can a person who has never given an interview become one? One of the most famous of our time? The answer is yes when it comes to Queen Elizabeth II. Due to his death which occurred despite the 96 years suddenly on September 8th.

Portrait of the Queen is told by a documentary by Fabrizio Ferri presented in the Special Screenings section of the 17th edition of the Rome Film Festival. Voice – with face only – narrating Charles Dance. The well-known British actor – decorated with the Order of the Empire – for Alien³ (1992), Tywin Lannister in the TV series Game of Thrones and Thomas in the films Underworld – Awakening (2012) and Blood Wars (2016).

Portrait of the Queen - Queen Elizabeth IIPoster and photo of Queen Elizabeth II – Courtesy Press Office

Elizabeth II seen through her official portraits

The sovereign in her 70-year reign has appeared countless times – almost all on official occasions – always wearing her iconic pastel-hued outfits. Lots of official speeches, never interviews. It cannot be the same with his son Charles III, nor with his heir Prince William. Why? Elizabeth unexpectedly became queen at the age of 26 in 1952. She crossed her era, marking it with her silhouette, choosing her own image and her own communication. And this is what Portrait of the Queen is about: the story of Queen Elizabeth through her official photos – and the precious testimony of more or less well-known photographers called to Court to represent her – which then somehow comes back to make a history of the portrait in the general sense. And then of his subjects as well as personalities from the world of showbiz who recognize his greatness.

Portrait of the queen: a short history of photography featuring a real queen

A once-in-a-lifetime queen Elizabeth II – because she was born in 1926 between the two world wars of the 20th century – who ascended the throne unintended. She was in the low-key role of a senior royal when her father George VI died. He who had ascended the throne after the abdication of his older brother and King Edward VIII in 1936. Who left the throne for Wallis Simpson. But this is another story. Fabrizio Ferri, renowned photographer (writer, composer and videographer) tells how the image of the Queen crystallized through the script of the writer and journalist Paola Calvetti, who wrote a book on the Sovereign.

Courtesy Press Office – Editorial Use Only

Perhaps the most photographed woman in the world, like the great Hollywood divas, like Marilyn Monroe, the one who, as the great photographers who portrayed her say – from Bryan Adams to Antony Armstrong-Jones, passing by Yousuf Karsh and Cecil Beaton – marked a turning point in his career: “forget actors, politicians or anything else, after photographing his Majesty he will never be the same”. In the studio, in the royal palaces or outdoors, the shot always had to be different, and obtain the approval of Elizabeth II. A lady, a symbol who spoke like Pierpaolo Piccioli also explains it through her outfits, with incomparable royalty as Susan Sarandon testifies. Endowed with great humor and the freedom not to smile in the photos – which is rare as Isabella Rossellini explains – and strictly never on order.

From left to right: Susan Sarandon – Isabella Rossellini. Courtesy Press Office

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