“A fascinating illustration of an important period in British history,” writes the Lord-Lieutenant of Clwyd, Trevor Jones, in the foreword to Colin Edwards’s new book.
Having read the book for myself, I couldn’t agree more. Written by Mr Edwards, an avid royal watcher, ‘A Personal Portrait of the Royal Family‘ is a delightful collection of intimate photographs and anecdotes collected by him over more than 30 years.
73-year-old Colin Edwards’s interest in the Royal Family was sparked when he watched Queen Elizabeth’s coronation on television at the age of twelve. However, it wasn’t until 24 years later, during The Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, that he snapped his first photograph of Her Majesty. After that, there was no stopping Mr Edwards, who regularly attended public events to meet with, and photograph, members of the Royal Family. He eventually became so well known that The Princess of Wales would recognise him and greet him personally!
Divided into five chapters, ‘A Personal Portrait‘ mainly focuses on Mr Edwards’s encounters with The Queen, The Queen Mother, and Diana, Princess of Wales. However, for those more interested in the recent generations, it also features The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, as well as Colin’s experiences with being a part of the crowd and watching royal weddings.
The first chapter is devoted entirely to Her Majesty The Queen. Accompanied by his friends, Mr Edwards would travel all over the country to see her at her official birthday parade or on walkabouts. Often, he would present Her Majesty with a framed photograph, and in response he would receive a letter thanking him. Excerpts from some of these letters are included in the book.
In his lifetime, Mr Edwards has taken over 75 photographs of The Queen, some of which he has entered into photography contests and won certificates for. In fact, he recounts the time when he was invited to The Queen’s Garden Party and wasn’t allowed to take his camera with him. “It seemed strange not taking a photograph of her,” he writes.
In the chapters that follow, Mr Edwards remembers the time The Queen Mother visited an exhibition of photographs that he had held to mark her 100th birthday, and the occasion on which Diana introduced him to Prince Harry as the man who “follows me everywhere.” He gives a touching account of the aftermaths of their deaths and his attendance at both of their funerals.
He also fills the pages with memorable stories and incidents, such as that of his annual tradition of reading The Queen Mother a poem on her birthday, and the time Prince William was installed as the 1,000th Knight of the Garter.
‘A Personal Portrait‘ is a wealth of images and fascinating revelations about royalty. While fellow royal watchers will undoubtedly be able to relate to Colin’s fascination, other readers will be able to experience the life of a royal watcher vicariously through his narration. One thing is certain: everyone who reads the book will no longer think of the members of the Royal Family as an enigma, but instead appreciate them as genuine, warm and friendly people, with good natures and kind hearts.
Photo credit: Colin Edwards/Candy Jar Books