Could claims of a fake photograph of the Queen installing the new prime minister create a temporary constitutional crisis for the United Kingdom? Or is this a fake storm in a royal teacup?8 September 2022
By Paul Martin, Exclusive.
Constitutional experts are perplexed by a photo supposedly showing the Queen, two days before her death, about to shake hands with Liz Truss as the Queen appointed her the new Prime Minister.
If indeed Queen Elizabeth II was too ill to have been standing up and smiling at a rendezvous in front of her fireplace, it is possible, they argue, that Mrs Truss has not become prime minister and that there would need to be a new ceremony at which the new king, Charles III, would have to officially appoint her.
However to do so would be a deeply embarrassing or even scandalous admission of fakery. It would give rise to questions about who ordered the series of photos supposedly taken in Balmoral Castle, and why the outgoing and incoming prime ministers connived at the deception.
ONE POSSIBLE SIGN OF AN ALLEGED FAKED PHOTOGRAPH OR A SET OF PHOTOS IS THE ABSENCE OF ANY VIDEO OF THE SEMINAL EVENT IN THE MODERN ERA OF MEDIA COMMUNICATION. THE OTHER IS THAT THE PHOTO (ABOVE) DOES NOT ACTUALLY SHOW THE TWO SHAKING HANDS…. THE HANDS ARE CLOSE BUT SEPARATE. AND MRS TRUSS’S HAND APPEARS FAR TOO LARGE TO BE EXPLAINED SIMPLY BY A DIFFERENCE IN THE TWO WOMEN’S RESPECTIVE HEIGHTS. (MRS TRUSS IS FIVE FOOT SEVEN INCHES, AND THE LATE QUEEN WAS SAID TO BE JUST FOUR INCHES SHORTER THAN THAT. ) THERE IS ALSO A VERY DIFFERENT REFLECTION IN THE MIRROR, EVEN THOUGH THE CAMERA HAS SHIFTED ONLY MARGINALLY. It was shown as having been taken by Andrew Milligan/POOL/PA, but the PA have said it the photographer was Jane Barlow.
The prime minister is only officially in office when he or she is asked by the reigning monarch to form a government, and is from then on officially a ‘counsellor’ to the monarch — even though the real executive decisions for the country are taken by the Prime Minister and Cabinet, not the monarch.
It is possible that prime minister Johnson’s resignation and his successor’s appointment happened in another setting, for example at the Queen’s bedside. In which case it might be argued that the correct constitutional transfer did occur.
NOTE: Correspondent.World has no direct evidence that the photos were faked. It is seeking to have the photos forensically examined to determine the likelihood of this. The PA says it has done its own interview with Jane Barlow’s photos and a video. It has told Correspondent.World by email:
The PA photographer that took the picture of the Queen meeting the new PM was Jane Barlow, PA have done an interview with her and taken images and video which will be on our wire shortly. She is working today [Friday 9.9.2022] and will be very busy over the coming days which is why we are putting the interview out ourselves.
A later message provided a link to an interview, but made clear the PA did not take video of the meeting it pictured of the late Queen with the new Prime Minister.
Ms Barlow told the Press Association, for which she works : “I got a lot of smiles from her.
“I was there to photograph her meeting the new Prime Minister but for me the best picture was the one of the Queen on her own. And it has obviously become more significant now.
“I’ve had so many lovely comments about the picture. It’s a real privilege to be able to take that picture, an honour and a privilege. It’s like that for a lot of our jobs.”
The Queen’s last official photograph was released after she met Liz Truss at Balmoral.
Barlow said gthey also discussed a typically British subject of conversation: the weather.