Photographer Jane Barlow made small talk with the Queen about the gloomy weather – but said her mood was the very opposite: “I got a lot of smiles from her.”
By Siba Jackson, news reporter
Friday 9 September 2022 21:52, UK
The photographer who took the last public picture of the Queen before her death has spoken of what happened when they met.
Jane Barlow, a Press Association photographer, was sent to Balmoral to capture the moment the monarch met Liz Truss, the new prime minister, on Tuesday to officially ask her to form a government.
Barlow took some portraits of the Queen while she waited for the Conservative Party leader to arrive at her Scottish estate.
She described the Queen, 96, as “frail” but “in good spirits”.
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In true British style they made small talk about the gloomy weather on a day of thunderstorms and downpours.
But the Queen’s mood was quite the opposite, Barlow recalled.
The Scotland-based photographer said: “I got a lot of smiles from her.”
Ms Truss was formally announced before the Queen “greeted her with a big smile” and Barlow was ushered out of the room.
The photographer said taking the picture was “an honour” and “a real privilege”.
“I was there to photograph her meeting the new prime minister but for me the best picture was the one of the Queen on her own. And it has obviously become more significant now.”
She said the Queen “certainly did look more frail” than when she was photographed in the summer.
Another person to spend time with the Queen in the days before her death was the moderator of the general assembly of the Church of Scotland, who said she seemed on “great form”.
The Rt Rev Dr Iain Greenshields spent the weekend at Balmoral and dined with the Queen on Saturday evening and Sunday lunchtime.
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He described her as “fabulous” and “very engaging company”.
Their conversations covered a variety of subjects including the Queen’s father, the Duke of Edinburgh, horses, her faith and her love for Balmoral, one of her favourite places.
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Dr Greenshields also revealed his surprise that the Queen’s health deteriorated so suddenly.
“This frail lady came in but there was still that sense of who she was and that real sense of making you feel immediately at ease, engaging with you immediately in conversation, a nice bright smile, everything you would expect of your monarch,” he said.
“Her health was frail, we knew that, but when I left her on Sunday she was very positive and I just find it very hard to believe that in those few days things have changed so much.”
Buckingham Palace announced the Queen died peacefully at Balmoral on Thursday afternoon. A period of national mourning has now begun for Britain’s longest-serving monarch.