Photographer behind Lilibet's birthday photo is longtime Sussex friend

Coming full circle! Photographer who took ‘candid’ birthday photo of Harry and Meghan’s daughter Lilibet is a trusted friend who ALSO took pregnancy announcement snaps, ‘helped to introduce them’ – and joined the Duke at the recent Invictus Games

  • Photographer Misan Harriman, 45, shared several images from Lilibet’s first birthday party, which took place at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor on Saturday, and which he attended with his wife and children 
  • He shared a ‘candid, spontaneous photograph’ of one-year-old Lilibet, as well as a black-and-white photo of Meghan and Lilibet posing with his wife, Camilla Holmstroem, and their two daughters
  • Harriman is the photographer behind Sussexes’s February 2021 pregnancy announcement photos; he took the images of the couple remotely via iPad from London, while they were at their home in California
  • At the time, Harriman – who was the first black male photographer to shoot a British Vogue cover – revealed that he introduced Meghan, 40, to the mutual friend who then connected her with Harry, 37
  • The snapper revealed on his Instagram account in April that he was invited to join the Duke at the Invictus Games in the Netherlands, where Harry and Meghan were also filming footage for a Netflix documentary 
  • He traveled to California in March to photograph celebrities like Demi Lovato and Ed Harris on the red carpet at Elton John’s Academy Awards party; it is not known whether he visited the Sussexes during the trip 
  • Harriman, who won acclaim with his images of the Black Lives Matter demonstrations in London in 2020, was also a guest at the couple’s royal wedding in May 2018

The photographer behind a new birthday portrait of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s one-year-old daughter Lilibet is the same trusted family friend who took the black-and-white images that the couple used to announce the news that they were pregnant with a second child back in February 2021. 

Misan Harriman, 45, shared a series of three images taken at a ‘casual, intimate backyard picnic’ hosted by the Sussexes at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor on Saturday in celebration of their daughter’s first birthday, having been invited to attend the small gathering as one of just a handful of select guests, alongside his wife and their two daughters. 

Among the images shared by Harriman – who rose to global acclaim when he became the first black male photographer to shoot a British Vogue cover in September 2020 – was a ‘candid, spontaneous’ shot of Lilibet, which Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, chose to share with the world to mark their daughter’s milestone birthday. 

As well as the sweet snap of the birthday girl, the Nigerian-born photographer also shared two other images from the party, including a black-and-white photo of proud mother Meghan holding her daughter in her arms while posing alongside Harriman’s wife, Camilla Holmstroem, and their two daughters. 

Photographer Misan Harriman, the man who took a birthday portrait of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s one-year-old daughter Lilibet while attending her birthday party with wife and two daughters on Saturday, is a close friend of the Sussexes. He is pictured with his older daughter at the ‘intimate’ gathering at Frogmore Cottage

The ‘candid, spontaneous’ birthday image marks a full-circle moment for Harriman, 45, who was also the man behind Meghan and Harry’s February 2021 pregnancy announcement photos, which he took remotely via iPad from London 

Harriman, who attended the party with his wife, Camilla Holmstroem, and their two daughters (seen with Meghan, 40, and Lilibet), actually played a ‘small part’ in bringing the Sussexes together, he revealed in 2021

The final image saw Harriman posing with one of his daughters in his lap – and showed the little girl sporting some colorful face paint, which the photographer revealed was one of the highlights of the gathering. 

‘It was such a privilege to celebrate the 1st birthday of Lilibet with my family and hers!’ he wrote while sharing the trio of images on social media. ‘Joy and face painting all around.’ 

The photographer has become very close with Harry, 37, and even joined the Duke at the Invictus Games in the Netherlands in April. He posted several images and videos from the event on Instagram, including one clip from the closing ceremony (seen)

The release of the photos marks something of a full-circle moment for Harriman, who not only helped the couple to announce to the world that they were pregnant with Lilibet, but also played a hand in introducing them in the first place. 

While sharing one of the images from the remote pregnancy shoot – which he shot via iPad from London, while the couple posed in the backyard of their $14 million Montecito mansion – on social media, Harriman, who was a guest at the couple’s May 2018 wedding, opened up about the ‘small’ role he had in bringing the pair together. 

‘Meg, I was there at your wedding to witness this love story begin, and my friend, I am honored to capture it grow,’ he wrote at the time. ‘Congratulations to The Duke and Duchess of Sussex on this joyous news!’

Speaking to British Vogue following the baby announcement, Harriman added: ‘To be asked to help share this absolute joy after such an unimaginable loss and heartache is a marker of true friendship.

‘Meg reminded me that had I not introduced her to a mutual friend then she wouldn’t have met Harry. I’m grateful for whatever small part I played.’

According to Finding Freedom, a biography written about Meghan and Harry by their journalist friend Omid Scobie, Harriman even enjoyed dinner with the Duchess of Sussex the night before she went on her first date with her future husband, Grazia reports.  

It has long been reported that Meghan and Harry were introduced by the Duchess’ longtime friend, designer Misha Nonoo, who is based in New York City, but is thought to have been the person who first brought the Sussexes together.  

While confirming the couple’s pregnancy news, a spokesperson for the Sussexes shared an insight into the close friendship they have with Harriman, saying at the time: ‘The photograph of the Duke and Duchess was was taken by the couple’s longtime friend Misan Harriman. What wonderful news for the Sussexes!!’

It is not known whether Harriman has had the chance to visit the couple’s California home in person, however he did pay a visit to Los Angeles earlier this year in order to photograph celebrities on the red carpet at Elton John’s Academy Awards party. 

Taking to Instagram to share some of his images from the event, Harriman revealed that he photographed everyone from Demi Lovato and Ed Harris to Elton’s husband David Furnish. Elton and David are longtime friends of Harry and Meghan’s, and the latter was actually due to team up with the Duchess of Sussex on an animated series for Netflix, before it was canceled by the streaming company amid cutbacks as a result of plummeting stock prices and dwindling subscriber numbers. 

The show – titled Pearl – was understood to be based loosely on Meghan’s own childhood, and filmmaker David was going to serve as a producer on the series. 

Netflix shelled out a $100million to ink a production deal with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in September 2020, however as of yet, the couple has yet to produce any published content for the streaming giant. 

His British Vogue cover (pictured) was released exactly one year after Meghan guest-edited the September 2019 issue of the magazine 

However, the couple have been working on an upcoming documentary about Harry’s military sporting event, the Invictus Games, and were trailed by a Netflix camera crew when they traveled to the Netherlands in April in order to host the latest instalment of the competition – which Harriman also attended with the Duke. 

The photographer shared several images and videos from his time at the Invictus Games, including several snaps of Harry interacting with veterans and military servicemen and women during the event. 

One shot shows the Duke comforting an emotional participant from the UK team, who was seen tearing up while sitting with a Union Jack wrapped around his shoulders. Another snap showed Harry and Harriman sitting alongside one another, while engaged in conversation.  

It is not known whether Harriman took part in any filming for the couple’s Netflix documentary, Heart of Invictus.  

Although Harriman only became a professional photographer in 2016 following a career in finance, he already boasts an impressive and lengthy resume, having quickly become one of the UK’s most prominent snappers. 

In fact, he had a hand in helping another member of the royal family announce some special news back in 2019, when Princess Beatrice enlisted him to take an engagement portrait of her and her now-husband Edoardo Mapelli Mozzi, which they released to the world when they announced their betrothal. 

In September 2020, he became the first black male photographer to shoot a British Vogue cover in its then-105-year history. 

The activist-themed cover featured England footballer Marcus Rashford and model Adwoa Aboah, with Mr Harriman working with a predominantly black team on set.

A year before, the Duchess of Sussex guest edited the September issue, which is traditionally the magazine’s most important of the year. 

Speaking about his 2021 pregnancy shoot for the couple (seen), Harriman told British Vogue: ‘Meg reminded me that had I not introduced her to a mutual friend then she wouldn’t have met Harry. I’m grateful for whatever small part I played’

Harriman’s work has also featured in Vanity Fair, Harpers Bazaar and People Magazine, a biography on his website states.

As well as Meghan, the Nigerian-born photographer has snapped a host of celebrities including actors Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett and Olivia Colman and singer Rihanna.

He is a self-described activist supporting diversity and inclusion in the workplace, as well as a mental health campaigner with an interest in dyslexia.

Before his British Vogue cover, the photographer won praise with a series of photographs that he took during the Black Lives Matter protests in London earlier that same year, with many showing profiles of demonstrators holding signs advocating racial justice.

Speaking last August about the positive public reception to many of his BLM pictures, he told CNN: ‘Through my lens I have seen the beating heart of London.’

Many of the pictures taken at the protests were profiles of activists holding signs advocating racial justice.

Among them was a photograph of England youth hockey player Darcy Bourne outside the US Embassy, holding up a sign reading ‘Why is ending racism a debate?’

The photographer, who runs a media company called ‘What We Seee’, also covered demonstrations against former President Donald Trump and protests by Extinction Rebellion.

More recently, Harriman, who is the chairman of the Southbank Centre in London, was appointed as the head of a collection of non-fungible tokens (NFTs) created by ‘up-and-coming’ artists from Africa and Asia. 

The collection is funded by the blockchain company the Tezos Foundation’s non-profit arm, which donated £1 million to be used for the procurement of digital artwork from ‘underrepresented’ communities, The Art Newspaper reported. 

‘The Tezos Foundation Permanent Collection will support and celebrate a new generation of artists that have chosen a smart contract-enabled path to be their true selves,’ Harriman said of the project. ‘As the first curator of this collection I want to make sure the world sees the diverse voices that are making truly extraordinary work with crypto art. We will be the custodian for this new community of creatives.’

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