The royal couple's photographer Hugo Burnand told the story of the image in honor of the Duke and Duchess' eighth wedding anniversary.

By Lauren Pardee
April 29, 2019
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Chris Jackson/Getty Images

In honor of Kate Middleton and Prince William's eighth anniversary, their royal wedding photographer, Hugo Burnand, is reminiscing on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's most famous wedding portrait-which almost didn't happen at all. The photographer got candid about the shot featuring the royal couple surrounded by the children in their wedding party, telling Town and Country, "That was a very spontaneous picture." With three minutes to spare, Burnand asked Middleton if they should attempt this group photo. She then sat on the steps, Prince William leaned in, and the children did what felt natural.

Burnand loves the image because it wasn't directed. It came together organically, which he believes speaks to the "good relationship" the Duke and Duchess have with everyone. That shot was the "one picture I really wanted to take," the photographer explained. "But we were only allowed to take this picture if we had achieved everything else."

The most remarkable thing about that image is its resemblance to a painting of Queen Victoria, Prince Albert, and their children that is on display in Buckingham Palace. As Burnand and his team exited their shoot, they walked by the artwork and immediately noticed the similarities. "I don't know whether I had seen it before or not but it's quite similar to the shot of Catherine and William sitting down, the colors, the positions," he recalled. Although the photographer claims he wasn't referencing the image, he believes it subliminally influenced the royal wedding portrait. "That was the first time I felt very emotional, like 'Wow, we've really done something.'"

Despite the hectic nature of that day, Burnand admits he wasn't nervous due to his intense preparation process. "I don't think I have ever been that prepared in all my life," he recalled. The photographer and his team were ready for anything to go wrong from bulbs exploding and lenses freezing; they were even ready with snacks for the children having their portraits taken. By the time the moment arrived, Burnand was like "come on, test us, test us," making the moment exciting rather than scary.

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