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The Royal Collection – Exclusive



Some of the most intimate photographs of the royal family from 1933 are on view to the public for the first time this week – thanks to a collaboration between Debenhams and royal photographer Ian Pelham-Turner.

Launched in Debenhams’ flagship Oxford Street store today ahead of the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations, the stunning collection showcases 40 never-seen-before photographs. Including events and memories such as the Queen during her coronation and wedding day, photographs of Edward VIII (thought to have been taken just before his abdication speech) and some of Prince William’s baby photographs.

The story behind the images is as intriguing as the shots themselves. In March 2011, just ahead of the Royal wedding, 100,000 images taken by Ian Pelham-Turner were found in the cellar of a London building – many of the photos were thought to have been lost forever. Months later, Ian Pelham-Turner was approached by the family of photographer W. Jones, to look at his collection of photographs found in the attic of his home after his death.

Although there are similar photographs in royal archives, this unique version of Royal Photography has only been re-discovered in the past year.

Ian says: “As I looked through the photographs, I realised I was looking at a unique chronicle of Her Majesty’s childhood and some of the most prominent moments in Royal British history. What is more astounding is that there is absolutely no public recognition of W.Jones in any newspaper archive, so what was his status, and how did he manage to capture so many intimate images of the Queen?

Rumours have since surfaced that W. Jones was perhaps involved in Military Intelligence, using royal photography as his cover story. We may never know the truth, but it is thanks to him that some of the most important moments in Royal history have been captured on camera.

Pelham decided to approach Debenhams, in the hope that people across the country could enjoy an accessible exhibition that truly captures the imagination of the British public.

The exhibition, which features images taken by both photographers as well as Helena Chard, will display in the flagship Oxford Street store before appearing in selected Debenhams store restaurants across England throughout June, giving all royal fans across the country a chance to see the special photos.

The display is located in the store’s 2nd floor restaurant in the Oxford Street branch, with the exhibition set to tour the following Debenhams stores throughout June:

Debenhams Harrogate: 7 – 9 June
Debenhams Chester: 13 – 15 June
Debenhams Bournemouth: 19 – 21 June
Debenhams Colchester: 25 – 27 June
Debenhams Harrow: 28 – 30 June

A spokesperson for Debenhams said of the event:
We’re delighted to be able to bring this event to our stores’ restaurants for customers to enjoy, especially during Jubilee month when interest in the Royal Family is at fever pitch.

As a retailer with over 200 years history it felt like a natural fit so we jumped at the chance when Ian approached us with the idea. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity for people to view these very special photographs in person.

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