The Queen’s royal photographer says she ‘never has to be asked to smile’

After her recent period of ill health, it was wonderful to see The Queen back on her feet in a portrait released to mark her 96th birthday.

In the spectacular photograph, Queen Elizabeth is seen smiling as she is standing in between two majestic-looking white horses – which appear to be two of her Fell prized ponies – as she holds onto their reins.

And Henry Dallal, who was given the opportunity to photograph Her Majesty, told OK!: "It was a huge honour. Obviously, it’s a huge occasion for me. It’s a huge honour and it’s always very special to be within Windsor Castle and with Her Majesty."

He then shared: "But, at some point, my focus becomes ‘take a good picture’. My focus becomes, ‘What do I do to get the best photograph possible?’ In terms of the lighting, the composition, and also, the biggest challenge, is to make sure the four-legged friends are also smiling at the same time and looking at you. But you never have to tell the Queen to smile."

Henry went into detail about what it was like being with The Queen on the day back in March, adding she spoke to everyone involved.

"She was very nice, very friendly, very pleasant, and enjoyed the occasion. She loved being outside with daffodils everywhere, with the magnolia blossom, and with her horses," he shared.

"I’ve photographed the Queen before on other occasions, for the Golden Jubilee, the Diamond Jubilee.

"It’s always pleasant. It’s very relaxed. We take the picture rather swiftly, and afterwards, she stays a little longer to see everyone and be with her horses."

He continued: "She will talk to everyone. She will talk to the gardener, everyone. It’s pretty relaxed. I feel so blessed to have this opportunity. It’s a huge honour to be asked."

Then, speaking about getting the "perfect picture", Henry shared that you don't get the luxury of picking and choosing the time of day.

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"You just have to make sure the weather is cooperative. The day before, it was awful, and we were trying to capture the magnolia tree in full bloom before it blew away, so timing is important," he says.

"You also don’t want it to be too sunny or too bright, the lighting needs to be as good as it can be.

"We don’t have that luxury with her majesty because we can’t say, ‘Why don’t you come around at sunset?’ ‘Well the lighting isn’t good, let’s try again tomorrow.’ That doesn’t work!"

Her Majesty looked in high spirits as her photo was being taken while she wore a dark green coat for the occasion.

The picture was taken by photographer Henry Dallal on the Windsor Castle grounds in March, ahead of her birthday on Thursday, April 21, which she is spending at the Duke of Edinburgh's cottage Wood Farm at Sandringham in Norfolk.

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