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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

HM Queen Elizabeth II

2002
Polly Borland

type C photograph on paper (sheet: 69.5 cm x 54.5 cm, image: 61.0 cm x 49.3 cm)

HM Queen Elizabeth II (b. 1926), reigning monarch, was the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York, who subsequently became King George VI and Queen Elizabeth. In 1952, she and her husband Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh set out for Australia and New Zealand; on the way, in Kenya, Elizabeth received news of her father’s death. She returned to England and was 25 on her coronation on 2 June 1953. Her Majesty is currently the Head of State of the United Kingdom and fifteen other Commonwealth countries. By convention, she is not involved the day-to-day business of the Australian government, but plays a ceremonial and symbolic role. She made her sixteenth visit to Australia in October 2011, and in September 2015 she became the longest reigning British monarch, surpassing the record set by her great-great grandmother Queen Victoria.

Polly Borland was one of few photographers invited to portray Queen Elizabeth II for her Golden Jubilee in 2002. Her unconventional royal portrait, featuring Her Majesty in close-up against a glittery gold backdrop, was taken during a five-minute sitting at Buckingham Palace. In preparation Borland set up cameras and lighting in front of two backdrops and in her allocated time shot two rolls of film, ending up with ten photographs.

Purchased 2002
© Polly Borland. Reproduced courtesy of Polly Borland and Anna Schwartz Gallery.

Artist and subject

Polly Borland (age 43 in 2002)

HRH Queen Elizabeth II (age 76 in 2002)

Subject professions

Government and leadership

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On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency