Ministry of Defence, 1940
Dimensions: 20cm x 25cm
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This black and white photograph was taken during a visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth to RAF Bentley Priory, in September 1940, during the height of the Battle of Britain. The Battle of Britain commenced on 10 July 1940 and ended on 31 October 1940, with some of the most intense aerial combat taking place during September.
Queen Elizabeth, King George VI and Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding are walking in the gardens at RAF Bentley Priory towards the Mansion House. They are walking together towards the camera and their whole bodies are in shot. They are photographed having just climbed the steps by the fountain in the Italian gardens from the lower balcony up to the upper level. On the lower balcony level behind them are another man and woman and the parkland stretches out behind them into the distance. The sun is shining on their backs with shadows cast on the stone balcony and balustrades.
Queen Elizabeth is on the left. She is wearing a patterned pencil skirt and matching jacket, patterned top, light colour shoes and gloves. She has a light coloured hat covering her short, curly dark hair. She is wearing a double string of pearls and has a clutch bag tucked under her left arm. She is smiling and appears to be looking up towards RAF Bentley Priory. In the centre of the picture is her husband, King George VI. He is also smiling and looking forward. He is wearing his RAF uniform, his arms hanging loosely by his sides. Air Chief Marshal Sir Hugh Dowding is on the other side of King George VI, to the right of the photograph, dressed in his RAF uniform. He has a more serious expression and his body appears to be slightly stiffer; his head is angled slightly toward the King.