Royal portraiture is a longstanding tradition that’s survived for centuries, but the medium has changed almost as much as the British monarchy has. Here, we highlight some standout images over eight generations of the British royal family, spanning from Queen Victoria‘s reign (when photography was first introduced), to Queen Elizabeth II‘s childhood, to Princess Charlotte‘s early years. From rigidly posed portraits to sweet candids, take a look at these official royal snaps.
Queen Victoria, who reigned from 1837-1901, was Queen Elizabeth II’s great-great-grandmother. She was the first British sovereign to embrace photography as a means of making the royal brand accessible to the public, since the medium was introduced shortly after she ascended the throne. She and her husband, Prince Albert (pictured), became champions of the new art form.
King Edward VII, who ruled from 1901 to 1910, and Queen Alexandra are Queen Elizabeth II’s great grandparents. Here, the couple poses at the State Opening of Parliament in London in regalia. Like her in-laws, Queen Alexandra was also an avid fan of photography.
King George V, Elizabeth II’s grandfather, ruled Britain from 1910 (following the death of his father, Edward VII) until his passing in 1936. Here, he’s pictured with his wife, Queen Mary, formerly Princess Mary of Teck, at the Robing room of the House of Lords.
King George V and Queen Mary’s son, George, Duke of York (the future King George VI) and his wife Elizabeth, Duchess of York, welcomed their first child and future Queen, Princess Elizabeth on April 21, 1926. In this photo, the royal couple looks dotingly at their daughter at her christening, a month after she was born.
The immediate royal family poses for an official portrait celebrating the coronation of King George VI, Elizabeth II’s father. The picture was taken by Hay Wrightson at Buckingham Palace.
Back row, from left to right: Mary, the Princess Royal, the Duchess of Gloucester, the Duke of Gloucester, Queen Mary, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth, the Duke of Kent, the Duchess of Kent and the Queen of Norway.
Front row: Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth (who would later become Queen Elizabeth II).
A young Queen Elizabeth II and Princess Margaret pose with Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. The mother-daughter trio sport floral ’40s-style dresses and matching pearls for the portrait.
The royals pose for a family portrait outdoors. Queen Mary, King George VI, Princess Elizabeth and Elizabeth the Queen Mother are seated in the front row, while the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Margaret, Princess Mary the Countess of Harewood, the Duchess of Kent and Henry Lascelles, 6th Earl of Harewood stand behind them.
A young Queen Elizabeth II, Philip Mountbatten, Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, King George VI and Princess Margaret pose in July 1947 in the royal apartments to celebrate Elizabeth and Philip’s engagement. Philip reportedly proposed with a three-carat diamond ring that consisted of a center stone flanked by 10 smaller diamonds.
Elizabeth and Philip share a sweet moment on their wedding day. The couple tied the knot at Westminster Abbey on November 20, 1947. The future Queen’s wedding gown included 10,000 seed pearls and a 15-foot train.
Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne the year after her father, King George VI, passed away. Here, she’s pictured on her coronation day with Prince Philip, Princess Margaret and Elizabeth the Queen Mother, dressed in full regalia, at Buckingham Palace after the ceremony.
Prince Charles, Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Queen Elizabeth II pose for a family portrait at Sandringham House, Her Majesty’s country home near Norfolk, England. The photo was taken ahead of their royal tour to Australia and New Zealand.
The royals take great candids, too, like this photo taken the day after Christmas in 1971 at Windsor Castle.
Back row, left to right: the Earl of Snowdon, the Duchess of Kent and Lord Nicholas Windsor, the Duke of Kent, Prince Michael of Kent, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Prince Andrew and Angus Ogilvy.
Middle row, left to right: Princess Margaret, The Queen, the Earl of St. Andrews, Princess Anne, Marina Ogilvy, Princess Alexandra and James Ogilvy.
Front row (left to right) Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones, Viscount Linley, Prince Edward and Lady Helen Windsor.
Princess Anne, Prince Charles, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, the Queen and Prince Philip enjoy a summer vacation at Balmoral Castle in August 1972. This image is from a series of photographs taken to celebrate the Queen and Prince Philip’s 25th wedding anniversary.
Queen Elizabeth II, her mother and Princess Margaret pose for an official portrait in matching cobalt satin jackets. Nearly two decades later, in 2002, Margaret and the Queen Mother passed away less than a month apart from each other.
Elizabeth II and her sister had a close-knit relationship and “a love, friendship, and conspiracy that were impressive to behold,” according to Vanity Fair. Margaret reportedly had a direct phone line at Kensington Palace to her older sister, which she’d often use to chat and gossip with her sibling.
Lady Diana Spencer—later known as Diana, Princess of Wales—and Prince Charles pose outside Buckingham Palace to celebrate their engagement. The bride-to-be flaunts her ring, featuring an oval sapphire surrounded by blue diamonds.
Charles and Diana wed on July 29, 1981, at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. After the ceremony, the newlyweds posed for photos with their family members, including the Queen, Prince Philip, Princess Margaret, Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew, Diana’s mother Frances Shand Kydd and her father John Spencer.
The royal couple welcomed Prince William in 1982 and Prince Harry in 1984. Here, Charles, the Prince of Wales, has a silly moment with his two sons at home in Kensington Palace.
Prince Charles, Princess Diana, Prince William and Prince Harry pose for a portrait at home in Kensington Palace with their dog. Harry’s mischievous smile is too cute—and so are his and William’s matching shoes.
The royal family poses for 14-year-old Prince William’s confirmation. Prince Harry, Princess Diana, Prince Charles, the Queen, King Constantine, Lady Susan Hussey, Princess Alexandra, the Duchess of Westminster and Lord Romsey join William for the portrait, taken at Windsor Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II sits in front of her son Prince Charles (second in line for the throne) and Prince William (third in line for the throne) at the 50th anniversary of her coronation. The photo was taken at Clarence House, Charles’ official residence.
Nine years after divorcing Diana, Prince Charles was remarried to Camilla Parker Bowles. The couple wed in a civil ceremony on April 8, 2005. The Queen didn’t attend the nuptials, but was present at the reception afterwards.
This photo, taken at the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle, features the married couple with Prince Harry, Prince William (the best man), Prince Philip, the Queen, Tom and Laura Parker Bowles and Camilla’s father, Bruce Shand.
A month after announcing their engagement in November 2010, Prince William and Kate Middleton released their official engagement portraits, shot by Mario Testino in the historic chamber of Clarence House. The couple wed four months later.
Prince William and Kate Middleton, now the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, tied the knot at Westminster Abbey. Their official family portrait was taken in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace.
Front row, left to right: Grace van Cutsem, Eliza Lopes, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Margarita Armstrong-Jones, Louise Windsor and William Lowther-Pinkerton.
Back row, left to right: Tom Pettifer, Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince Harry (the best man), Michael Middleton, Carole Middleton, James Middleton and Pippa Middleton.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge welcome their first child, Prince George, on July 22, 2013. The new parents pose with their firstborn at the Middletons’ family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire.
Prince George is as cute as a button in his official Christmas portrait. (He’s even wearing toy soldiers on his tiny sweater vest.) The picture was taken by his mother, Kate Middleton, at Kensington Palace in late November 2014.
Prince George smiles while holding his newborn sister, Princess Charlotte, who was born on May 2, 2015. Kate Middleton captured the photo when her daughter was less than a month old, at the Duke and Duchess’ country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk, England.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are all smiles with their two children in late October 2015 at home at Kensington Palace. The family chose this portrait for their Christmas card later that holiday season.
Princess Charlotte plays with a stuffed toy at Anmer Hall in November 2015. The adorable candid was taken by Kate Middleton in Sandringham, England.
Prince George is ready for his first day of nursery school in this portrait, taken by proud mom Kate Middleton. The royal tot attended Westacre Montessori School in Norfolk, England.
Princess Charlotte is pretty in pink in this portrait celebrating her first birthday. She was photographed by her mother at Anmer Hall in April 2016. The little princess appears to be toting a copy of The Wheels on the Bus by David Ellwand.
Prince George rocks stripes and shorts at this sweet summer shoot at his family’s Norfolk home in July 2016. The swing he sits on is engraved with his parents’ names, “William & Catherine.”
The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, the Queen, Prince Philip, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge pose for a photo at Buckingham Palace before the annual evening reception for members of the Diplomatic Corps at Buckingham Palace.
Princess Charlotte smirks in the official portrait for her second birthday in May 2017. This photo, like many others of her and her brother, was shot by the Duchess of Cambridge at their home in Norfolk, England.
Say cheese! Prince George celebrates his fourth birthday with an official portrait taken at Kensington Palace, released by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip pose for portraits celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary. The pictures were taken by British photographer Matt Holyoak in the White Drawing Room at Windsor Castle in early November.
Prince William and Prince George are all smilesbefore the young royal heads to his first day of school at Thomas’s Battersea in London. Kate Middleton, who is expecting her third child, was unable to join in on the festivities because she was home suffering from severe morning sickness. However, the Duke of Cambridge was able join his son on his big day.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte coordinate in matching blue outfits for a photo at Kensington Palace. The family of four used this image for their 2017 Christmas card.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle pose for their romantic official engagement photos, shot by Alexi Lubomirski at Frogmore House, Windsor. The pictures were released in December 2017, just a month after the couple announced their engagement. Markle flaunts her ring, which includes a center diamond from Botswana and two smaller ones from Princess Diana’s personal collection.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex pose for their official wedding portraits, shot by Alexi Lubomirski in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle. The series of three shots were released by Kensington Palace on May 21, two day after the couple’s ceremony. The full-family portrait features, from front to back: The Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Doria Ragland, Prince William, Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth II, Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, and the rest of the couple’s precious bridesmaids and page boys.
Another photo from the Lubomriski official royal portrait series features the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the floor of Windsor Castle’s Green Drawing Room, surrounded by their precious bridal party. The group of cute kiddos features, both Prince George and Princess Charlotte, as well as (not in order of appearance): Florence van Cutsem, 3, Remi Litt, 6, Rylan Litt, 7, Ivy Mulroney, 4, Jasper Dyer, 6, and twins Brian and John Mulroney, 7.
Prince William and Kate Middleton celebrate the christening of their third child, Prince Louis, (who was born on April 23) with Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince Charles, and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall in the Morning Room of Clarence House.
In honor of Prince Charles’ 70th birthday, the Palace released a photo of him with Duchess Camilla, Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, Kate Middleton, Prince William, Prince Harry, and Meghan Markle all together in the gardens of Clarence House. See a sweet candid version of the photo here.
This article originally appeared on Harper’s Bazaar US.