The Real Story Behind The Sketch Of Queen Elizabeth And Prince Philip That's Gone Viral

While Sophie, Countess of Wessex isn't the British Royal Family's best-known photographer, it is her image of the Queen and Prince Philip that went viral after Prince Philip died in 2021. The image had been shared on the eve of Prince Philip's funeral but was taken years before in 2003, during a picnic at Glenmuick in Scotland, per Hello Magazine. Months after her father-in-law passed away, Sophie told the BBC that "We were lucky enough to go to Scotland at the half term... I was pregnant with Louise at the time. We went up there during half term and just to be there in that place, it was an 'Oh my God' moment."

With the Queen's passing on September 8, an iteration of that image has gone viral once again, but not for the reason you might think. 

When news of Queen Elizabeth's death was made public, illustrators around the world reacted the only way they knew how — by using their pens. Some of the commemorative illustrations shared by artists in the wake of Her Majesty's death include the Queen riding solo on the tube (via Twitter), and a sad corgi with no hand to hold its leash (via Twitter). But of all the images shared on social media, none were as popular as the heartwarming illustration of the Queen, Prince Philip, and a corgi, sitting on a tartan picnic blanket, with a caption that read, "Hello again Lilibet." 

The image struck a chord with many on social media

The image was drawn by artist Kerri Cunningham, who said she'd been inspired by the Countess of Wessex's photograph of Prince Philip and the Queen. When Cunningham learned of the Queen's passing, she felt "it would be a nice tribute to put them back again," per the BBC. The sketch took an hour and was executed with a black pen and coloring pencils, per The Guardian. When Cunningham shared the image on social media, she didn't anticipate the reaction she would get. The artist said, 'It went quite crazy once I posted it. I went off to put the kids to bed [and] my big brother messaged me to say, 'Tyson Fury has shared your picture."

Cunningham added that nothing she has drawn in the past has struck a chord the way this image has, but she feels there is a reason for that. "I think the simplicity of the sketch has touched people — we can all relate that to an old couple we know — I've had a few people message me saying, 'this is a lovely image of the Queen but it also reminds me of my grandma,'" she added (via the BBC) 

The Guardian also reports that Cunningham has since received numerous requests to purchase the drawing. Because she didn't feel it would be right to make money from the Queen's passing, she is donating all the profits to the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).