Prince Phillip, Prince Charles, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, Pippa Middleton, James Middleton, Carole Middleton and Michael Middleton; (Front row, Queen Elizabeth II, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Prince William Duke of Cambridge in one of the the official portraits for the christening of Prince George. photographed in the Morning Room at Clarence House on Oct. 23.
(Photo: Jason Bell EPA)
Here it is, the picture Britain has been waiting for: Queen Elizabeth II in the same picture with three generations of her heirs: Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.
The snaps, taken Wednesday following the christening of the 3-month-old royal baby, are historic because only once before has a reigning British monarch been in the same room with three future monarchs.
That was in 1894, when Queen Victoria was photographed with her son, future King Edward VII, her grandson, future King George V, and her great-grandson, future king Edward VIII.
Queen Elizabeth, 87, who has been on the throne for 61 years, has less than two years more to go before she breaks her great-great grandmother Victoria's record as longest-reigning British monarch.
The palace released four pictures shortly after 10 pm London time today.
In the one of the queen with the three heirs, she is seated, William and Charles are standing and William is holding baby George, who is awake and not crying.
A second picture shows just William and Duchess Kate and George; and a third includes Prince Philip, Prince Harry, Prince Charles' wife Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Kate's family, the Middletons, Carole, Michael, Pippa and James. The fourth picture showed the queen, Philip, Charles and Camilla, Will and Kate and Harry.
The pictures were taken in the Morning Room of Clarence House, Charles' London residence and office, immediately after the christening, the palace said. The room originally was the Breakfast Room in John Nash's design for the home of the Duke of Clarence in 1825-7.
The pictures were taken by photographer Jason Bell, best known for his Hollywood and celebrity portraits in Vogue and Vanity Fair, whose work Duchess Kate of Cambridge noticed at London's National Portrait Gallery, where she is royal patron.
The palace also disclosed some details. "The sofa on which the group is seated is part of a suite of gilt-wood seat furniture by Thomas Chippendale which dates from about 1773," the press release said. "It is thought to have been commissioned by George III's brother (the Duke of Gloucester) and was in the Royal Collection by the reign of George IV.
Family photos and artworks are visible in the pictures, including a bronze bust of Princess Elizabeth made by William Lamb in 1933, a matching bust of Princess Margaret, and their portrait in oil, Their Royal Highnesses The Princess Elizabeth and The Princess Margaret in Windsor Great Park, a 1945 work by Frederic Whiting.
Photographs of Prince Charles and Prince Harry in a Zulu village in South Africa in 1997, and another of Prince Harry are also visible.
On the rear wall to the left of the window there is an oil painting of the queen's grandfather, A Conversation Piece at Aintree: King George V and his Racing Manager from about 1927-30 by Walter Richard Sickert. There's even a portrait painting of George Bernard Shaw by Augustus Edwin John from 1915.