Glamour and talent of lord of the photos
By Andrew Pierce
THE Earl of Lichfield, who at the peak of his fame as a society photographer was arguably more glamorous and better known than most of his subjects, died yesterday. He was 66.
Lord Lichfield, a second cousin of the Queen, was staying in Oxfordshire with friends on Thursday when he was taken ill. He was taken to John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, having suffered a stroke. Members of his family were at his bedside when he died.
The tributes were led by Buckingham Palace, which said that the Queen was deeply saddened by his death.
In his 40-year career Lord Lichfield photographed some of the world’s most beautiful women, including Shakira Caine, Jerry Hall, Elle MacPherson and the late Diana, Princess of Wales. His name was a byword for the playboy world of glamour and royalty. He was a lifelong friend of the late Princess Margaret, a bond forged in the Caribbean island of Mustique, where they both had homes.
Baroness Thatcher, the subject for his last official portrait to mark her 80th birthday, said: “Patrick Lichfield was not only one of the most talented and professional of photographers, he was also an absolute delight to sit for. Always courteous and considerate, he had a rare skill which is now sadly gone.”
Britt Ekland, a former girlfriend who was photographed by Lord Lichfield in 1970 and again two years ago, said: “I am deeply shocked by his death. Lord Lichfield was a wonderful photographer.”
His friend and fellow photographer, Terry O’Neill, said: “He was the lord of charm. We were from the poor side of town. He was from the posh side of town. He took a lot of stick in the beginning.”
Lady Antonia Fraser was captured in his 1960s work Swinging London, which also featured the director Roman Polanski and the artist David Hockney. “It is terribly sad news,” she said. “What I remember most is that he made the sitting such fun. It was so enjoyable because he had such high spirits — that it is hard now to believe he is dead — and you got a lovely picture at the end of it.”
The novelist Jilly Cooper worked with him on a behind-the-scenes look at the making of the Unipart calendar. “He was just a gorgeous man, lovely and intensely glamorous. He was charming and very kind to the models,” she said. “He had an ability to pick out something in people, including those who are non-beauties, and make us look wonderful, but I think he also wanted to be regarded as a serious photographer.”
The actor Nigel Havers, a friend for 25 years, recalled that Lord Lichfield liked to work quickly, using a mantra coined by the actor David Niven — “You can take a photograph of me for a long as it takes me to drink a pint of Guinness.”
Mr Havers said: “Apart from being a great photographer he was a very close friend of mine and I will really miss him. He was the kindest man I had ever met.”
Lord Lichfield was born in 1939, the son of Viscount Anson and Princess Anne of Denmark. He inherited the earldom from his grandfather.