Why this iconic photograph of Harry and Meghan almost didn't happen

Anya Meyerowitz
Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images

From Red Online

During Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's final weekend of royal engagements, our screens — big and small — were filled with photographs of the couple.

From their appearance at the Commonwealth Service — alongside other senior royals — to their emotional attendance at the Mountbatten Festival of Music at the Royal Albert Hall, the world could not get enough of their triumphant, final hurrah.

However, there was one photo that stood head and shoulders above the rest. An iconic shot of the couple, shielded from the rain by an umbrella, as they arrived at the Endeavour Fund Awards at Mansion House (5 March).

But, what really went on behind the camera to get that — now famous — image of the couple?

The man behind the shot, Samir Hussein — an award-winning photographer for Getty Images who has covered the British royal family for more than 12 years — explained how he captured the moment in a statement sent to Vogue.

He tells of how the evening didn't start out too favourably:

It was pouring down with rain, which can be very tricky when shooting flash photography. [It] also meant Harry and Meghan would be under an umbrella, which usually means it’s hard to get clean photos of the couple.

Little did I know these elements would come together so spectacularly to produce a timeless image.

After talking to the Sussexes’ press officer, Hussein says he learned Harry and Meghan would be dropped off about 30 feet from the entrance of Mansion House, where the event was being held. He went into the photographer’s pen and positioned himself the best he could.

As they walked toward me, I noticed a flash going off from a camera in the crowd behind them. I knew that if that light could be lined up to be right behind as they walked, then it could create a dramatic photo, acting like a backlight in a studio shot. I managed to manoeuvre myself to line up the flash behind them and then had to work quickly, with just a second or two to get the shot as they smiled wonderfully at each other.

Photo credit: Samir Hussein - Getty Images

However, the royal photographer didn't know that he had captured anything magical until he downloaded the photos onto his laptop and found the — now iconic — photo.

'It’s a one in a million, when all the elements you could wish for as a photographer come together — perfect timing, great lighting, strong symbolism, and amazing subjects,' he explains.

Well, we're so pleased that everything aligned in that moment, because it's a picture that you just can't help but smile at.

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