Royal Photographer Chris Jackson Spills the Tea on His New Book, Royal Style and One of His Favorite Royals to Photograph

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For royal watchers, the events of the past year have brought about significant change. Last June, we were marking Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee, which toasted to her 70 years on the throne. This spring, following the passing of Her Majesty, we’re set to celebrate King Charles III’s ascension to the throne with his official coronation on May 6.

That’s where Chris Jackson comes in. As a royal photographer for Getty Images, he delivers a fly on the wall perspective for every single royal occasion, large or small. Lucky for us, he’s also got a brand-new book out this April, called Charles III: A King and His Queen, which provides impressive insight into the life and trajectory of the king. Jackson recently dropped by the Royally Obsessed podcast, which I co-host with Roberta Fiorito, to spill the tea on his new book, Charles’s sense of style and one of his favorite royals to photograph.

king charles great windsor park
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

1. His Favorite Image of King Charles Is One That Nods to Prince Philip

It’s one of Jackson’s favorite things about photographing the royals: the historical implications behind a single image. That’s why one of his favorite photos in his new 240-page book is actually a recent one, taken on the day Charles was named a ranger at Windsor Great Park. “That’s a job his father had held for so long,” Jackson reflects. “It’s that kind of transition, which you often find with royal pictures, that is so poignant and gives it added depth.”

His favorite details about the shot? The 600-year-old tree Charles is leaning up against. Also, the knowledge that the king truly is happiest in that kind of environment. Last but not least, the time of day he got to snap the shot. “When you’re photographing royalty, you don’t always get to choose the exact time of day, so there are often things you would change if you had total control over the moment. It’s not perfect, but I love that in this shot, there’s a little bit of light leaking in at the top of the picture that gives you something different that stands apart from the formality of the day to day images that I often take of the royals.”

king charles mexico
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

2. He’s Frequently Blown Away By the King’s Unique Sense of Style

“The king is the antithesis to fast fashion,” Jackson explains. “Some of his suits have been worn over many decades. Shoes have been repaired and worn for upwards of 20 years—sometimes even longer—and you can only admire him for that commitment to using and reusing and recycling.”

Also of note: Charles’s incredible sense of style. Per Jackson, there’s a reason—beyond just recognition of his philanthropy—that GQ named Charles man of the year in 2018. “On royal tours, he’s got to be the only guy sweltering in 100-degree heat in a full suit and tie and still looking very cool, calm and collected,” Jackson says. “As a member of the royal family, it’s part of the job—you have to wear a variety of different outfits from state banquets to the garter ceremony and many of these robes have centuries of tradition woven into their fabrics, which makes clothes an important part.” Still, Jackson says Charles’s sartorial efforts stand out. (In fact, it’s why he devoted a whole chapter to it in his new book.)

king charles and queen camilla
Chris Jackson/Getty Images

3. The Queen Consort Is One of His Favorite Royals to Photograph

Sure, Jackson often has a front-row seat to many a historic royal occasion, but he’s also been personally tapped by the family to capture a range of family moments including Queen Camilla’s 75th birthday portrait. “She’s absolutely one of my favorite people to photograph,” Jackson says. “One thing that always stands out to me is her sense of humor and her smile—that just makes my job really enjoyable.”

For more insights about the royals from Chris Jackson, listen to the Royally Obsessed podcast with co-hosts Rachel Bowie and Roberta Fiorito. Subscribe now or follow us on Instagram @royallyobsessedpodcast.

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Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...