Queen Elizabeth II opens a session of the Parliament of Canada in Ontario with Prince Philip at her side. Britain's reigning monarch is also Canada's head of state, a government structure left over from when the region was under British rule, and the queen has visited Canada more than any other country during her reign.
Queen Elizabeth II opens a session of the Parliament of Canada in Ontario with Prince Philip at her side. Britain's reigning monarch is also Canada's head of state, a government structure left over from when the region was under British rule, and the queen has visited Canada more than any other country during her reign.
Photograph by Kathleen Revis, Nat Geo Image Collection

Vintage photos of royal families from all over the world

In the last century, modern media has offered unprecedented access to monarchs—from their elaborate ceremonies and regalia to the quiet moments of their everyday lives.

The public has long been captivated by the lives of royal families—in Britain and around the world. Not only are we drawn to the elaborate ceremonies and regalia that mark their births, weddings, coronations, and deaths but we’re curious, too, about their everyday lives.

In the last century, modern media has allowed the public unprecedented access to royal families. These historic photos offer a glimpse of the lives of royals from around the globe—from Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in ceremonial attire as they open a session of the Canadian parliament in the 1950s to a Swazi princess being dressed by older women on her wedding day two decades later. While some of the images are missing the date that they were taken, the embellishments and quiet moments of royal life still shine through. (See Queen Elizabeth II’s rule in 15 pictures.)

This story was updated on April 9, 2021.

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