Buckingham Palace has released a new portrait of the queen with her three direct heirs: Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George. The photograph, the palace announced in a tweet sent from the royal family’s Twitter account on Friday, shows the queen, dressed in white and smiling broadly. Next to her stands Prince George, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s oldest son. His grandfather, Prince Charles stands to his side with his hand on George’s shoulder. Prince William stands behind the queen.
The portrait, said the palace, had been taken “to mark the start of a new decade,” and had been taken by Ranald Mackechnie in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. The release of the picture also seems to sound a deliberately upbeat note at the beginning of the royal year, after a 2019 which saw the scandal over Prince Andrew’s friendship with Jeffrey Epstein leading to his immediate expulsion from official royal duties, as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s stated unhappiness with royal life, and Prince Philip’s pre-Christmas hospitalization.
The queen has been photographed with her three direct heirs once before—in 2016, to mark her 90th birthday.
The 2020 picture can also be seen as a stark visual declaration of royal power—and where the palace, and the queen, see that power residing in the coming generations.