Ranald Mackechnie

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HM The Queen's 90th Birthday

In an attempt to get organised and archive my work I came across these images taken for Royal Mail to commemorate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday.

It was the first time that Prince George was to appear on a stamp and it was all very top secret. Having been commissioned by Royal Mail 18months previously I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone, including my wife that I had been to Buckingham Palace until after the shoot.

As the picture was going to be turned into stamps on a sheet, each person’s head had to be in exactly the right place. A millimetre the wrong way on the final stamp sheet would have made the perforations too close together, so I had to make sure everyone was spaced the right distance apart. I had computer monitors in the room with templates of the final stamp sheet so I could make sure each person’s head fitted into the right frame. Buckingham Palace had supplied me with Prince George’s exact height so I could work out how to get his face a similar height to the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Cambridge. Unfortunately, when the Royal family came into the room and sat down, my computer system crashed. Prince Charles was very sympathetic, and saved my blushes, and fortunately I had back-up so we were back up and running in about a minute.

It is a shoot I will never forget.

Ranald

Christine Harding