ROYALIST and photographer Jim Wilson took these pictures of the Queen while she was staying at her Sandringham estate in Norfolk.

Although she is the most photographed woman in the world, Mr Wilson, a former president of the York Camera Club, does not consider her to be photogenic. But her excellent relationship with her subjects comes through in photographs, he said.

"She's quite natural. Perhaps that's why a lot of people think she's not terribly photogenic.

"She does become involved. The way that she involves herself, and takes part in public occasions, is marvellous."

The monarch is an enigma, he said. "I always think the Queen's a private person, but when you break the ice, as I have tried to do once or twice, she becomes very friendly.

"I was on the regional committee of the National Trust and in its jubilee year my wife and I went down to a garden party at Buckingham Palace.

"We saw the Queen and the Prince of Wales and chatted to them. It was quite interesting to see how she kept spurring Prince Charles along so he didn't fall behind."

Mr Wilson, 74, visited Sandringham for the Queen Mother's birthday for several years. He has a close friend who was the architect for the estate until his retirement.

After years serving in the Army and the TA, he describes himself as "a great royalist" and he was impressed by the Queen Mum in particular.

As a mature student he graduated from London University, when the Queen Mother was Chancellor. She was guest of honour at the graduation ceremony.

"I'll always remember the way that she greeted everybody who went up - there were about 1,000 graduates. Everybody got a special smile."

Mr Wilson got his first camera when he was about nine or ten. "The first camera I had was a one and sixpenny camera from Woolworth's," he recalled.

"Woolworth's was a threepenny and sixpenny store then. As a result they sold the cameras in three parts for sixpence each - the front, back and lens."

A shortage of film held up his hobby during the war.

"It was probably about 20 years ago when I moved from just taking holiday snaps and family pictures to being more serious."

One of his major passions is nature photography. He recently returned from France with pictures of wildflowers, including orchids, in his camera.

For the last 12 years he has travelled to Africa to take pictures of the animals. But he is delighted, too, by his royal pictures.

"I am a big fan of the Queen. She does a tremendous job. To do it in the public eye is even more impressive," he said. "I am a royalist because it's an independent way of ruling the country. We have a family that's independent of politics, and that's not a bad idea."

Updated: 16:42 Tuesday, May 28, 2002