A new exhibition of never-been-seen royal photographs opens at Windsor Castle on Saturday (April 24) to coincide with The Queen‘s 84th birthday.

the queenMarcus Adams/Royal Collection

The 57 vintage silver gelatin prints are by well-known portraitist Marcus Adams, who took the candid photographs in 1926-56.

The pictures include The Queen as a two-year-old girl, one of her in a pose reminiscent of the putti in Raphael‘s Sistine Madonna, and one with Princess Margaret, taken just before the Second World War.

princess elizabeth margaretMarcus Adams/Royal Collection

The photographs are some of the most intimate of the royal family, as Mr Adams adopted a more relaxed style, scattering toys around his studio and overturning the tradition of formal royal portraiture.

He also photographed the offspring of other key figures of the day, including A. A. Milne‘s son Christopher Robin, who is pictured with his Winnie the Pooh toy, an image that is now displayed in the National Portrait Gallery.

Mr Adams said of the royal family: ‘I have had more joy from that family than from any. They are full of fun.’

windsor castle

The exhibition ‘Marcus Adams: Royal Photographer’ runs at Windsor Castle until February 6, 2011. An accompanying book is £9.95 from Royal Collection Publications.

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