BANG Showbiz English
David Bailey accidentally called Queen Elizabeth “girl”.
The 95-year-old monarch sat for the legendary photographer in 2014 and he recalled trying to put her at ease by asking if “the jewels” were real and admitted he forgot about the formality that usually surrounds his subject and they “had a laugh” together.
He recalled: “I said, ‘I bet that cost a few bob, girl’.
“It just came out. I call everyone ‘girl’. But she was girlish. Made a real effort. We had a laugh. Beautiful skin, the Queen.”
The 84-year-old photographer also joked about the “terrible hair” Princess Diana sported when he took her picture in 1988.
He told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “Terrible hair. You know, from the hairspray – solid as a plastic dummy.”
During the shoot, David’s assistant accidentally dropped a light on Diana’s head, and the photographer recalled how “magnanimous” the princess – who died in 1997 in a car accident – was about the mishap, making a point of reassuring the woman afterwards.
He recalled: “I thought, oh f***!
“She said, ‘Don’t think about it; it was a terrible accident’. I told her she had been very magnanimous – that’s right, because she asked me what magnanimous meant.”
According to the photographer, Diana was an easy subject, happy to do what she was directed to, although he made an effort to get her to laugh so the images didn’t look forced.
He said: “This one is probably where I was trying to loosen her up.
“Everything she is doing here is what I told her to do, though if I want to make them laugh, I tell them something funny. I don’t say ‘F****** laugh’.”
David was diagnosed with vascular dementia after a stroke four years ago and he thinks there are advantages and disadvantages to his condition.
He said: “I just get on with it. I’ve always been dyslexic so it didn’t make much difference.
“[My family] joke, ‘Oh, don’t tell Bailey, he’ll forget, hee hee’.
“It has its advantages because I forget the bad times, but sometimes I forget the good times too.”