Sail, Britannia: A look back on a collection of portraits of the Queen to mark her silver wedding anniversary

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Ruler of the waves: the Queen aboard the HMY Britannia in 1972, from above, laughing on deck (Lichfield Archive via Getty Imag)
Ruler of the waves: the Queen aboard the HMY Britannia in 1972, from above, laughing on deck (Lichfield Archive via Getty Imag)

It was a 25,000 mile tour for the royal couple, which began in Bangkok and ended in Nairobi. And some of the most memorable images of the Queen were taken on this tour, where she was seen donning the iconic pearl and diamond Vladimir Tiara to the opening of the Mauritian Parliament (and which Her Majesty is wearing on the cover of this special Jubilee edition of ES Magazine).

‘No disrespect to the Queen,’ quipped one news reporter, ‘but this morning she really looked like a Queen, driving around the streets in a full robe and tiara — [in] the steamy tropical heat of Mauritius — to [go] in picture-book splendour to the parliament building.’

Greeting well-wishers in the Seychelles (Lichfield Archive via Getty Images)
Greeting well-wishers in the Seychelles (Lichfield Archive via Getty Images)

The trip, he continued, had been ‘remarkable for the interest that the countries [visited] and the people of those countries had shown for the couple’.

The Queen with her private secretary Sir Martin Charteris (Lichfield Archive via Getty Images)
The Queen with her private secretary Sir Martin Charteris (Lichfield Archive via Getty Images)

But away from their official duties, the photographer Patrick Lichfield managed to capture a more intimate side to the Queen on board the Royal Yacht Britannia, nicknamed The Floating Palace, with Prince Philip, her secretary or simply soaking in the sunshine on deck (the yacht was one of the most loved vessels for the young royals, not simply reserved for state visits and tours but also for honeymoons and family holidays).

The Queen with Prince Philip (Lichfield Archive via Getty Images)
The Queen with Prince Philip (Lichfield Archive via Getty Images)

As one Evening Standard reader wrote in a letter to the newspaper about the tour: ‘What a marvellous time the Queen and her husband […] are having. No English winter, no blackouts and full pay. Oh to be a royal.’

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