Prince Philip Commissioned Photographer to Hide in Fake Church Pillar to Document His Funeral


The royals are no strangers to pomp and circumstance and life or in death.

Photo by Pok Rie from Pexels.

The recent passing of Prince Philip gives us a rare peek inside of the planning behind such an event. Not only logistically challenging from a security standpoint, as a historical event these kinds of things also present challenges from an archival perspective.

Photographer for the family for over forty years, Arthur Edwards was also commissioned to capture Prince Philip’s funeral and, in coordination with the late royal prior to his passing, developed a novel solution for unobtrusively capturing candid photographs of the event. Edwards worked for The Sun for quite a while and was even awarded the Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in 2003 by the Queen.

Hiding in a fake pillar placed on the stairs leading up to St. George’s Chapel, Edwards was able to capture everything through what the NZ Herald quotes as a letterbox-shaped slit “just two yards away from the raw emotion of the Royal Family.”

Held during a pandemic, the event was an understandably understated affair for a royal funeral but, as PetaPixel reports, this was in keeping with the late prince’s wishes.

“When his coffin went past my hidey-hole and into the chapel — my last sight of the man I photographed for 40 years — I was overwhelmed with memories of an incredible man,” Edwards told The Sun.

What do you think of hiding a photographer in a fake pillar to better document an event attendees’ reactions? Have you ever used anything like this in your practice to get more candid reactions? Let us know your thoughts on this story in the comments below.

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Kehl is our staff photography news writer since 2017 and has over a decade of experience in online media and publishing and you can get to know him better here and follow him on Insta.

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