Kiss Me Hardy-by-George-Phillips-print

Kiss me Hardy

Kiss Me Hardy ,March 27th, 1981 by George Phillips

‘May I kiss the hand of my future Queen’ Cheltenham schoolboy Nicholas Hardy asks Lady Diana Spencer on March 27th, 1981 just weeks before her marriage to the Prince of Wales at St Pauls Cathedral on 29th July.

The soon-to-be-married Diana visited The Dean Close School accompanied by the Prince of Wales. A surprised Diana, replied, “I don’t know about that.” adding “You will never live this down”

This was one of the first official Royal engagements for Lady Diana, her first being a charity ball at Goldsmith Hall just days earlier ,where she was introduced to Princess Grace of Monaco and over the years many comparisons were made of the lives of the two.

The man who captured this moment was photographer George Phillips (1934-2018) an ‘area man’ working originally for The Sun , The People and then the Daily Mirror.

George plied his trade in the west country for almost fifty years. He had caught the eye of many of his contempories when he won the Brittanica News Picture of the Year for a photo he took in 1952 .

George was working for Planet News and heard on the radio of a crash at Harrow and Wealdstone station .

The overnight express train from Perth crashed into the stationary commuter train from Tring on the platform at Harrow and Wealstone and the wreckage of the two trains then blocked the up line to the express from Euston to Manchester.It crashed into the wreckage of the two and 112 people were killed and 340 injured.

His father Cecil Phillips was a London based staffer for the New York Times and said to George ”Dont follow the crowds,find the crux of the crash and go from there ”.Good advice. which George followed and scooped his rivals . George only had one glass plate left and he wasnt sure if it had already been used but he was fortunate and got a picture that has stood the test of time . It showed the local vicar the Reverend John Richards standing on top of a mountain of mangled wreckage.

The obituary for George in the Daily Mirror said big stories were George’s meat and drink. He covered many news stories such as the murder conspiracy case against Liberal leader Jeremy Thorpe, the Hungerford massacre and the Fred and Rose West trial.

And did Nick ever live it down? It seems he did , Nick became a music scholar, actor, and violinist.

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