Arthur Edwards, a life on the lookout for the Windsors

Published today at 03:30

This first weekend of June promises to be memorable: the British celebrate from June 2 to 5 the platinum jubilee of their queen, the seventy years of reign of Elizabeth II. At the height of her popularity, the 96-year-old sovereign, an almost perfect embodiment of permanence and duty, has already made history. Arthur Edwards will be celebrating: he too is a legend in his field. At 81, he is the royal family’s most enduring and best-known photographer on Fleet Street – the historic address of the British tabloids, in the heart of London. This year he celebrates his forty-five year career as royal photographer for the Sun, one of the very first national draws.

To his credit, more than 200 international tours in more than 120 countries, seven marriages, four funerals and seven royal births. “What does the jubilee mean to me? Four days of non-stop work is going to be tough. I will cover the Derby [course de chevaux d’Epsom Downs, le 4 juin, au sud de Londres], I hope the queen will be there. It’s at the derbies that we’ve always had the best photographs of her, she’s so relaxed there [la reine est ­passionnée par les chevaux] ! », confides the photographer, dark suit and royal blue tie, his usual work clothes.

Ten days before the celebrations, this tireless hunter of royal smiles, still just as motivated by the Grail of page one picture (the photo of “one”), awaits us on Tuesday, May 24 on the top floor of the News Corp tower (owner of the Sun), a stone’s throw from London Bridge. The view of the British capital is breathtaking. Arthur Edwards is due to leave the same afternoon for an event of Prince Charles’ main charitable foundation, the Prince’s Trust.

Arthur Edwards and Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on November 28, 2011.

The photographer has just returned from an official trip by the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall to Canada – a grueling three-day marathon – and he was the day before at the Chelsea Flower Show, the most famous horticultural show in the world. country. “At 4 p.m., we learned that the queen would make an appearance there, I spun. » The sovereign, who has mobility problems and has hardly shown herself since last fall, appeared in a golf cart allowing her to move between the gardens without difficulty. “She seemed delighted. I took a very nice photo of her, but because of Boris Johnson, I missed the ‘one'”, regrets Arthur Edwards. Stolen photographs of ‘Partygate’, the Downing Street party scandal, stole the show.

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