Thousands of photographs have been taken of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, since she married Prince Harry and joined the British Royal Family. On that basis, an Irish photographer was delighted when she selected an image he snapped of her during an official engagement, and put it on thank you cards to send to those who wished her well on her 37th birthday.
Photographer with the Irish Independent newspaper, Gerry Mooney, took the photo during Harry and Meghan’s visit to Dublin in July 2018. It showed the former Suits actress laughing with a group of well-wishers who had turned out to greet her at Trinity College, where she and Harry visited the famous Book of Kells. “The Duchess seemed very relaxed and comfortable that day, and she and Prince Harry took their time talking to the people waiting,” Gerry tells Lonely Planet News. “They were very warm and patient with everyone. It had rained earlier, but the sun shone while they were walking around and there was a great connection there with the crowd.”
Gerry had spotted the group of women in the crowd in advance, and felt that if Meghan approached them, it would make a great shot. His instincts proved to be correct, and as Meghan stopped and engaged with the women, he seized the opportunity to snap the warm and engaging shot. While Gerry was there to take photos for his own newspaper, he was also the chosen “pool” photographer, where one person is chosen to take the images and supply them to agencies, rather than having a crowd of photographers there. As a result, the image was published far and wide.
Gerry was at home when he received a surprise phone call from the Duchess’s PA in August, telling him that Meghan loved the photo and was seeking permission to use it on the cover of her birthday thank you cards. “It’s not every day that you get a call from Kensington Palace,” says Gerry, who won photographer of the year at The Press Photographers Association of Ireland’s annual awards in 2017.
“Having a card from the Duchess with my name beside the picture is very special, and it will be a lovely memento to have for my two children, Gemma and Conor. My little girl was so excited going into school talking about Daddy and the princess.”