When the Queen celebrates her Diamond Jubilee this weekend, there will be some honours taking place across the pond in one of her Commonwealth countries as well. Anglophiles across Canada will undoubtedly be raising some Pimm's to Her Majesty, and in Victoria, there will be an opportunity to see her in all her glory -- almost.
The Royal BC Museum's "Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton: A Diamond Jubilee Celebration" opened June 1, and runs until September 3, an opportunity to showcase both the gorgeous images and the space's heritage. The 60 portraits are on loan from the Victoria & Albert Museum, and required a representative from the institution to install them.
"There’s clearly an audience in Victoria for anything to do with Her Majesty," Tim Willis, director of exhibitions, told The Huffington Post Canada with a laugh.
Cecil Beaton's unique 20-year relationship with the royal family resulted in indelible images, like the candid shots of Queen Elizabeth with her children, or the more playful look at how she handled her responsibilities.
"He charted the great moments in the Queen’s life until his death [in 1980]," said Willis. "My favourite image in the entire exhibition, partly because it’s so tender, and partly because of its context, is the image in 1942 of the Queen at the age of 15. She's wearing a uniform and the cap of the Grenadier Guards -- her father had just made her captain, and it was the first time a woman had been head of that."
And for Canadians questioning the role of the monarchy in our country -- despite recent approval ratings -- it's photographs like these that can't help but pull at the heartstrings.
"I certainly think there’s a love for the Queen, and that may be a little different than a love for the monarchy," Willis mused. "For Canada I think it’s something that distinguishes us from America. And it reminds us of history -- our curator was just showing me a letter that was written by Queen Victoria giving British Columbia its name. No matter what you think about our connection to monarchy, it is interwoven into our history completely."
SEE: Portraits of the Queen through the years by Cecil Beaton:
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Andrew, March 1960 (© V&A Images)
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Charles, Clarence House, September 1950 (© V&A Images)
Princess Elizabeth as Colonel of the Grenadier Guards, Buckingham Palace, October 1942 (© V&A Images)
Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, 1968 (© V&A Images)
Queen Elizabeth II, Buckingham Palace, 2 June 1953, by Cecil Beaton (© V&A Images)
Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret Buckingham Palace, October 1942, by Cecil Beaton (© V&A Images)
Princess Elizabeth and Prince Charles, Clarence House, September 1950, by Cecil Beaton (© V&A Images)
Photo of Cecil Beaton taken by Curtis Moffat, c1930 (© V&A Images)