Operatic Entrance

As Paris feted Queen Elizabeth II, photographer Bert Hardy found a circumstance to match her pomp

(Bert Hardy/Picture Post/Getty Images)
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Back with Picture Post, Hardy covered the Korean War and U.S. president Dwight D. Eisenhower's 1956 reelection campaign. But whatever joy he took in his success at the Paris Opera was short-lived: in a harbinger of Life's fate, Picture Post folded just six weeks after publishing its souvenir edition, a victim of declining circulation. Hardy became one of Britain's best-known commercial photographers before retiring to a Surrey farm in the late 1960s. He died in 1995, at age 82.

After her night at the opera, Elizabeth spent her time in Paris chatting with French veterans at the Arc de Triomphe, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns, sailing the Seine at night and generally inciting the French into a Union Jack-waving frenzy. After visiting Versailles and touring around Lille in the north of France, she returned to home and throne. And to her long reign.

David J. Marcou, a Wisconsin-based writer, met Bert Hardy as a student in 1981.


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