Photographer for British tabloid gets 'a great picture' of queen

May 16, 1991|By Rafael Alvarez | Rafael Alvarez,Sun Staff Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- Arthur Edwards visited every continent on Earth last year except Antarctica.

A photographer for the Sun, one of London's racier tabloids, Mr. Edwards would have gone to the South Pole, too, but nobody from Britain's royal family went there.

For the past 15 years, Mr. Edwards has been part of the "Royal Rat Pack," the gang of British reporters and photographers that follows members of the House of Windsor when and wherever they go.

Yesterday, it was to a hot little patch of sod near a housing project in Southeast Washington, where Queen Elizabeth II, escorted by Barbara Bush on the first leg of her 10-day American tour, met the residents.

As always, Mr. Edwards was waiting for a good shot.

"A good picture of the family sells tabloids off the newsstand," said Peter Stothard, deputy editor of the Times of London, a more reserved voice of the British establishment.

Some of Mr. Edwards' best work featured Diana when she was still the girlfriend of Prince Charles: Diana standing in a shaft of bright sunlight that illuminated her body beneath a light cotton dress, and later, Diana, then the Princess of Wales, in a bikini and very pregnant in the Bahamas.

"Diana was such a star, just sensational, every picture I took of her for three years went into the paper," said Mr. Edwards, 50. "A few weeks ago in Brazil she cuddled an AIDS baby, and we rigged up a satellite at the foot of a charter jet and transmitted the picture back in time to make that day's tabloids."

Mr. Edwards didn't expect such drama yesterday. The 65-year-old queen, wearing a yellow turban-style hat, yellow-flowered suit, white gloves and white shoes, possesses just a tad less sex appeal than Diana.

But, he said, "You never know what day you're going to get a sensational picture."

And so he stood with about 30 other members of the British press, and as many more American television and newspaper reporters, breaking free from the pack when the queen made her way through the Drake Place housing projects to meet the neighbors.

One of them was 67-year-old Alice Frazier. As the queen entered Mrs. Frazier's home, she was greeted with an offer of fried chicken, potato salad and a hug.

She declined the first two and didn't have time to decline the last.

The queen, according to the Associated Press, smiled a weak smile and pulled away.

But an ecstatic Mr. Edwards ran from the Frazier house with his cameras flying. "I got a great picture!" he said. "A picture of a lovely black woman putting her arms around the queen! A lovely picture, a great picture!" he repeated.


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