The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee at The Savoy

“I’m not a monarchist but I’m not against them, I’m ambivalent” I thought. And anyway did it really matter if I was for or against them? I remembered the photos from the Queen’s Silver Jubilee in 1977, those slightly faded photos of street parties and Union Jacks, photographed with a type of seventies film that we can now reproduce with Instagram. Looking at those photos from the frenetic digital age we live in now they could almost be Victorian..

The anonymous colour photo of a street party, bunting strung between terraced houses has stuck with me, as has Martin Parr’s black and white photos of a rain lashed table, abandoned.

They’re historical documents whatever your political views, and I wanted to produce my own.

I asked in vain about street parties, emailing, putting messages on Facebook..

Finally I got an invitation to photograph at The Savoy on the Strand in central London. I popped my camera in a bag, hopped on my bicycle and peddled off through the drizzle in the general direction of the West End.

Getting through security, waiters and waitresses whizzed by..

Serving dessert..

Chefs posed with puddings in the shape of the Queen’s head..

After a bit of wandering about Paddy, who had invited me along asked me to join his friends. Some trifle followed by a glass of Champagne.. followed by a cocktail.. and I felt my photos improving or at least the process of taking them became more fun. After some time someone decided that it was time to get a good view of the Pageant. Off we trundled, no-one knowing how to navigate the myriad of  labyrinthine corridors in the hotel. We soon got lost and stopped, and texted and called people who were probably in the same situation in a different corridor.

Somehow, and I’m still not sure how, we got into a lift and as the doors slid open were greeted with a tray of cocktails,

and ushered into a room with excellent views of the Thames, and the Pageant.

As the boats came into view people began to take photos,

and film.

To crane their necks,

and admire.

To watch it on TV,

and take more photos.

I think that everyone enjoyed themselves,

including me.

And I didn’t expect that!

Thanks Paddy!


If you are interested in using any of these images please contact me. All photographs copyright Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann. Any use requires authorisation. Thank you.

© Raphael Schutzer-Weissmann


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