Evenings left unamused as mornings get royal portrait

The only free portrait of Queen

Once again regional evening newspapers lost out on deadlines for royal pictures as the Buckingham Palace press office set a 1 am embargo for portraits to mark the 50th anniversary of the Queen’s accession.

And only one of a specially commissioned Golden Jubilee portfolio of photographs of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh released for publication on Wednesday was free. It was taken by PA photographer Fiona Hanson and the national news agency gave it to its subscribers.

Of the rest, which included shots by Lord Lichfield and John Swannell, only the Duke of York’s fee went to charity. The package was handled by Camera Press. Two other photographs were also made available to Sunday newspapers.

Evening paper editors were not best pleased. South Wales Argus editor Gerry Keighley said: "I think they must be mad if they think the regional press is going to pay for yet another picture of the Queen. I also think they are less than aware of the regional press’s situation when they are only making one available for morning and evening newspapers. We have different needs and want fresh pictures."

Paul Horrocks of the Manchester Evening News thought Buckingham Palace could have used its influence to get the photographers to donate their fees to charities.

The deadlines were set despite an approach to the palace by the Society of Editors’ executive director, Bob Satchwell, a fortnight before to remind them of evening newspapers’ needs.

A palace press office spokesman told Press Gazette: "We will not be re-thinking the deadline. Photographers who have taken these particular photographs over many months naturally have costs to be covered. The quality of the images is very high and an awful lot of work has gone into producing them. That is the reason there is a charge for the photographs. The money goes to each individual photographer."

On the question of the unfavour-able deadline, he said: "Sadly, there are lots of different types of media so we are not always able to help each individual type of outlet.

"Throughout the Golden Jubilee tour around the regions starting in May, there will be lots of opportunities for regional evening newspapers to take photographs of the Queen which will be first seen in the regional media.

"We are naturally very much aware of regional and evening newspapers and how they contribute to the local communities, which is why they will find on the tour that there will be a lot of space given over to them."

Jonathan Grun, editor of PA, said: "The release of the pictures is essentially a matter for the palace. We are delighted on this occasion we have Fiona’s picture to give to our subscribers as part of the PA service."

By Jean Morgan

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