Since a coronation is such a momentous occasion, it requires a skilled photographer to capture the ceremony and preserve its memory. That’s why the royal family has enlisted a familiar face for King Charles III and Queen Consort Camilla’s crowning ceremony on May 6, 2023. On February 12, 2023, The Times revealed that Hugo Burnand will take the portraits at the coronation. Burnand is the same photographer who shot Charles and Camilla’s wedding in 2005, so the royal couple has a long history with the vendor.
However, according to Town & Country, the London-based photographer almost missed out on the royal wedding gig. At the time, Burnand had been traveling in South America with his family for six months. One night, he realized that everything they owned was stolen, including his camera equipment. After finally getting internet access the following day, he saw an email from Camilla, asking whether he was available to take her wedding photos. He decided to cut his trip short and take on the role as their photographer. “I thought it’d be a shame to miss out on photographing the future king of England’s wedding and the future, future king of England, who would be there too,” he explained.
While Burnand shot Charles and Camilla’s wedding, Prince William became familiar with his work and wanted the photographer to document some of his big moments. The Prince of Wales asked Burnand to take pictures of his sons, which soon turned into a request to shoot his wedding to Kate Middleton in 2011. According to Burnand, they had three weeks to prepare for one of the biggest weddings of the century, which included lugging equipment, setting up the Throne Room, experimenting with lighting, and arranging timed dress rehearsals. “We were so prepared,” he said. “It was very exciting to be that prepared. I don’t think I have ever been that prepared in all my life.” He went on to document other noteworthy royal weddings: Lady Gabriella Windsor and Thomas Kingston’s nuptials in 2019, and Flora Ogilvy and Timothy Vesterberg’s big day in 2021.
Not only did Burnand capture Charles and Camilla’s wedding nearly 18 years ago, but he’s also been their go-to photographer for other royal occasions. According to People, Burnand took Charles’ 60th and 73rd birthday portraits and the couple’s Christmas card photos in 2017 and 2018. He even shot Camilla’s cover photo in December of 2022 for U.K. Good Housekeeping.
For the coronation, The Times reported that the photos will combine modern and traditional styles. The same look is evident in the coronation emblem that Buckingham Palace released on February 10, 2023. The logo shows St. Edward’s Crown—the same crown Charles will be crowned with during the coronation—drawn in red and navy. The national flowers of the four nations of the United Kingdom—the rose of England, the thistle of Scotland, the daffodil of Wales, and the shamrock of Northern Ireland—are also present. The emblem demonstrates the king’s “love of the natural world,” according to the palace. Sir Jony Ive, a former Apple employee who designed the iPhone, iPad, and iPod, designed the illustration.
The London-based photographer made his debut in the industry as Tatler Magazine’s bystander nightlife column photographer. He was a society photographer for the magazine for more than 20 years. He is now an international portrait and event photographer with a royal warrant.