Elizabeth recently celebrated the 70th anniversary of her reign. Charles Green, a devout Jew, was the Queen’s photographer for two decades. He left England in 2013 to move to Israel and has since published a book about his life and work, writes zsido.com.
Green’s mother Anna fled Nazi persecution on the eve of the Second World War to join her sister in England. After the war, Anna, now in her 40s, married a Polish widow 17 years her senior who, six months after the birth of their son, abandoned her and the child in 1950. Anna raised the boy in abject poverty. She darned silk stockings while dreaming of Israel, where her son could receive a proper Jewish education.
Her dream came true in 1960. Green finally studied in Israel and celebrated his bar mitzvah in the Holy Land. It was also in Israel that he became passionate about film, but studies in film were not available there at the time, so mother and son moved back to England so that the young man could learn the craft of filmmaking in London.
Green’s talent, perseverance and diligence led to a successful career, and his work as a photographer was highly regarded not only in England but also in the United States.
As a result, he was eventually invited by Buckingham Palace officials to apply to be Her Majesty Elizabeth II’s Official Investiture Photographer. „You don’t just get a job like that,” he said in a recent interview. It has to be specially requested.
Green, who says his previous experience was mainly in photographing bar mitzvahs and weddings, found the palace invitation on his answering machine on his return from a trip to Israel. At first he thought it was a joke, but then he called the number and to his surprise, the call was actually answered by Buckingham Palace.
„I thought I would go in any event; at least I could see the palace. Not many people got to do that at the time,” he recalled with a laugh.
In his first interview, he made it clear to everyone that he was a religious Jew and therefore did not work on the Sabbath. „That’s no problem at all,” was the reply.
„We don’t hold investiture ceremonies on any religious holiday.”
Green served in the position for 20 years, during which time he took the portraits of more than 50,000 honored people and their families. He has also been commissioned to photograph the Queen and her family on several occasions. At the turn of the millennium, he organized a special fundraising evening where he captured many celebrities. The photographer also published an autobiographical book, My Journey to Buckingham Palace and Beyond, after his retirement when he was already back in Israel. In addition to the wonderful pictures, the book also has some fascinating stories.
The full original article on Green is available in Hungarian at zsido.com.