Over the years, the Isle of Wight has attracted its fair share of royalty, from Victoria at Osborne House to King George V.

As a freelance photographer involved both in press and commercial photography, it brought me into contact with a varied selection of royals, especially during Cowes Week.

Scroll through the gallery of pictures above to see more... 

Queen Elizabeth made a number of visits to the Isle of Wight, sometimes accompanied by her husband, Prince Phillip.

It was during his helming of Owen Aisher’s yacht, Yeoman XIX, that I happened to be freelancing for the Daily Mirror and spotted the Duke.

Isle of Wight County Press: Prince Philip at Cowes Week. Photo: David White.Prince Philip at Cowes Week. Photo: David White.

Instructing the driver of my boat to steer up close, I proceeded to take some good shots. However Prince Phillip took exception and in down-to-earth basic nautical terms told me clear off.

I replied that I had a job to do, and that I would go when I had taken my photos — this did not go down too well.

That evening I was booked to accompany the managing director of Heineken brewery and his guest VIPs to a reception aboard the J-class yacht, Velsheda, I had been asked to look out for, and photograph, any notable guests.

During the evening, shock horror, who was to come on board — none other than Prince Phillip together with King Constantine of Greece.

Needless to say I kept well away from Prince Phillip, just in case he recognised me. But I did capture a friendly picture of King Constantine, which saved the day.

When Princess Diana visited, she was an easy person who photographed well.

But in earlier times, Prince Charles did not have the chance to pose for a camera shot while learning to windsurf in Osborne Bay where he took numerous duckings.

Isle of Wight County Press: Prince Charles windsurfing in Osborne Bay. Photo: David White.Prince Charles windsurfing in Osborne Bay. Photo: David White.

Even the young Prince Edward learnt his sailing techniques in Cowes.

The Queen Mother was one of the royals who would always be ready to pose for the camera.

WATCH: Prince Charles, Prince Philip and Prime Minister Ted Heath at Cowes Week in 1971


It was not only UK royals who visited either. Prince Harald of Norway (now King Harald) was a keen yachtsman and during a visit I was commissioned to photograph him.

We spent a good deal of time chatting, and before I left, he mentioned a buffet reception being held that evening, and why not go along? I did and needless to say we all had a lively evening.

But sadly times have changed and security has tightened, so life has become more controlled with less freedom.

One wonders if William and Kate will have the Isle of Wight on the agenda in the future — for that we must wait and see.

Like reading about the Isle of Wight and its characters in bygone days? Click here to visit our Looking Back section for more interesting tales!