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Queen Elizabeth portrait released to mark 88th birthday

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

A new portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, taken by David Bailey, has been released to mark her 88th birthday on Monday, with the renowned photographer delighting in the "mischievous glint" in her eyes.

The black-and-white photograph of the smiling monarch was taken in March at her Buckingham Palace official residence in London.

"I've always been a huge fan of the queen," Bailey said.

"She has very kind eyes with a mischievous glint. I've always liked strong women and she is a very strong woman."

The monarch is pictured wearing pearls and a dress by Angela Kelly, her personal assistant and senior dresser of 12 years.

Bailey, 76, has photographed a wide range of people over the decades, including actors, writers, musicians, film-makers, designers, models, artists and people encountered on his travels.

The picture was commissioned as part of a British government marketing campaign dubbed "GREAT", aimed at encouraging people around the world to visit, study in and do business with Britain.

A Buckingham Palace source said Queen Elizabeth agreed to sit for the portrait in recognition of the campaign's work.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said the portrait was taken to "showcase everything that is great about the UK to an international audience".

It is hoped that the image will encourage foreign visitors to experience Britain's royal heritage.

Britain's monarchy, including royal heritage and property, generates an estimated £500 million ($850 million, 600 million euros) per year in foreign spending, according to the VisitBritain tourism agency.

Traditionally the British sovereign celebrates on a second official birthday in June, because the summer weather is supposed to be better for open-air events.

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http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/140420/queen-elizabeth-portrait-released-mark-88th-birthday