Never-Before-Seen Picture Released of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret With Their Newborn Babies

Never-Before-Seen Picture Released of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret With Their Newborn Babies

Queen Elizabeth II was one of the most photographed women in the world—with multiple formal and informal images of her published throughout the decades. However, one particularly intimate picture has only just been revealed as part of new exhibition celebrating 100 years of royal photography.

A picture of Queen Elizabeth, Princess Margaret, Princess Alexandra, and the Duchess of Kent as young women with their newborns is a highlight of the exhibition Royal Portraits: A Century of Photography which opened at the King’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace on May 17. The never-before-seen photograph (above) was taken in 1964 by Margaret’s husband Lord Snowdon as a personal token of thanks for royal obstetrician John Peel, who the Royal Collection said delivered all four babies within two months that year. The baby the late Queen is holding is her fourth child Prince Edward who was born in March 1964. Margaret is holding her second child Lady Sarah Chatto, who was born in May 1964.

queen elizabeth princess margaret with their babies
Lord Snowdon / Courtesy of Royal Collection Trust

The photograph is displayed next to a handwritten note from Margaret to her sister “Darling Lilibet,” in which Margaret asks the Queen if she would like to sign a picture to send to the obstetrician. She writes that that she has “cut out Alexandra!” and proposes sending a signed image of the other three royal women to the obstetrician. The Royal Collection explained that Princess Alexandra, standing slightly apart from the group, had been cropped out of one version after Princess Margaret had placed a round vignette effect around the central group.

princess margaret letter to queen elizabeth
Princess Margaret’s letter to her sister regarding the photograph.Royal Collection Trust

“Armstrong-Jones married Princess Margaret in 1960 and this provided him with the opportunity to produce portraits of Princess Margaret and other members of the royal family from a very unique perspective,” exhibition curator Alessandro Nasini, told journalists today in an introduction to the exhibit. He said that the portrait was taken on Margaret’s suggestion and it exemplified the “special relationship” between Lord Snowdon and the family.

princess margaret
A portrait of Princess Margaret taken by Lord Snowdon in 1967.Lord Snowdon / Courtesy of Royal Collection Trust

The exhibition features more than 150 items from the Royal Collection to chart royal photography from the 1920s to the present day. Other pictures that are on display include unreleased wartime pictures by Cecil Beaton including one of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspecting bomb damage at Buckingham Palace in 1940 and one with Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret at Royal Lodge in Windsor in 1943. More recent photographs of the family include Kate’s 40th birthday portraits taken by Paolo Roversi and William and Kate’s engagement and wedding photographs.

This is the first exhibition to open in the gallery since it was renamed the King's Gallery. To mark the occasion, the Royal Collection Trust is offering £1 tickets to those claiming Universal Credit and other named benefits. For more information visit

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