Candid camera! Prince George, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and more royal kids have been taught the highest standards of decorum, but even they have unscripted moments in public, which are sometimes captured by royal photographers Samir and Zak Hussein.
“You have that unknown element,” Samir exclusively told Us Weekly on Monday, January 31, while discussing the Princess Diana Accredited Access Exhibition. “It doesn’t matter whether they’re royal kids or any kids, and they could throw a tantrum at any time or they could just do something funny, like stick out their tongue. They don’t always play by the rules. So, I love photographing kids ‘cause you don’t really know [what] you’re gonna get, and more often than not you get these special moments.”
Samir acknowledged that the process can be “challenging,” but the end product makes up for it. “As a royal photographer [and with] photographing kids in general, you’ve got to be ready because this [could] be a really fleeting moment, but it also produces some of the most fun moments and best pictures,” he explained.
Zak agreed with his brother that impromptu breaks from the royal norm make for the best snaps.
“It’s a really nice moment when you don’t realize you’ve got a picture, and you download the card and you’re going through them and then you suddenly come across a picture that you didn’t even realize you were taking. That’s pretty satisfying when you come across a picture like that,” he told Us. “You don’t know what’s gonna happen. These jobs, anything can happen in a split second, and you’ve gotta be ready to take it.”
“Another example was Princess Charlotte at a sailing event, and she was with Kate and suddenly there was this huge crowd there gathered to see them and Charlotte just for a split second stuck her tongue out at the crowd,” Zak recalled. “There’s this great moment where Kate’s just kind of pulling her face laughing and sort of embarrassed by her daughter that stuck her tongue out. And I think Sam took the picture as well, but a lot of photographers around us didn’t get it because it only happened for a split second.”
Samir and Zak followed in their father Anwar Hussein’s footsteps by becoming royal photographers. The trio collaborated on the Princess Diana Accredited Access Exhibition, the first-ever walk-through documentary that shares the untold story of how the late princess changed the world before her 1997 death. They compiled their famous photos and behind-the-scenes details for an up-close-and-personal perspective of the royal family.
“We wanted to tell the story of [Diana’s] life through all the pictures, but also we wanted to tell the stories behind the pictures as well, sort of firsthand from what we experienced,” Zak told Us. “The exhibition’s divided into different rooms, showing different elements of her life. For example, like, her early years as a young shy girl, also her work as a humanitarian, all her fashion, so there’s a lot to see. We worked along with the producers to identify chapters of this walk-through documentary, and from there, we kind of collaborated on photos and decided on the best stories we wanted to tell.”
Samir noted that the photos that resonated with him the most were ones that showed the family’s dynamic across generations.
“What I really liked was any of the pictures that really showed them not so much as royals but just as family and [their] love for their children,” he shared. “So Diana’s love for her two children and in the same way, [Prince] William and [Prince] Harry and Kate and Meghan [Markle] and they’ve subsequently had kids as well. So just their connection as a family.”
The Princess Diana Accredited Access Exhibition is currently open in Los Angeles and Chicago, with plans to come to New York City. For information and to reserve tickets, visit princessdianaexhibit.com. Use promo code DIANA10OFF for 10 percent off tickets.
With reporting by Christina Garibaldi