Cecil Beaton, The Queen's Photographer (PICTURES)

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Cecil Beaton: the photographer who got closer to the Queen than any other
Cecil Beaton: the photographer who got closer to the Queen than any other

Cecil Beaton, the Queen's photographer throughout her reign until his death in 1980, is the subject of a new exhibition launched at the Victoria and Albert Museum this week.

Ostensibly a tie-in with the Diamond Jubilee, Queen Elizabeth II by Cecil Beaton really tells the story of one of the most important photographers of the 20th century - and certainly the most important to the Royal Family whose modern image he helped to shape.

Starting when she was a young princess in 1942 and spanning several major events in the Queen's life (including her Coronation Day), no photographer ever got as close as often to the world's greatest enigma than Beaton - who recorded the complexities and excitement of photographing the Queen extensively in his diaries.

But it wasn't just HRH that Beaton snapped. Several members of the royal family were viewed at one time through his lens, along with stars of film and fashion during his early period as a photographer for Vogue magazine.

Here's we've rounded up a collection of photographs that tell the story of his career, including his own compositions and those taken by others showing Beaton at work.