PICTURES.  Mantais Claude Bertin had died on the arrival of Elizabeth II at the Renault factory in Flins.

PICTURES. Mantais Claude Bertin had died on the arrival of Elizabeth II at the Renault factory in Flins.


Claude Bertin was 24 years old in 1957. His father, the owner of a photo studio in Mantes-la-Jolie (Yvelines) had sent him to cover the event. (© Renaud Vilafranca)

“Hitting, throwing, gong! There were flashes everywhere! » Claude Bertin, former photographer of Jolie’s mantisthought to write voluntarily Courrier de Mantes (78 Actu), this Friday, September 9, 2022, the day after the 96th death of the Queen. Elizabeth II. He arrived this morning at our offices, alert despite his age, three black and white photos in his hands. Unpublished photographs of his late majesty’s unique exile at Mantois, treasured in his private archives.

This 89-year-old man was one of those who did not die during his visit Flins-sur-Seinein 1957. That year, the Queen of England, 30, participated in her first official visit to France. He goes to Paris, of course, to Versailles, but also, unexpectedly, to the Renault factory in Flins.

Elizabeth II had visited the owner, led by the CEO of Renault at the time.
Elizabeth II had visited the owner, led by the CEO of Renault at the time. (©Claude Bertin)

Elizabeth II had expressed a desire to see “the French at work”, as reported by a article of The world (item paid) of that time. A tour of this state-of-the-art production site west of Paris is scheduled. April 10 in the afternoon, the royal procession arrives from Paris with the A13, then to Mantes Road. Axis “that local nurses were responsible for flowers, here and there, with tulips, carnations and even simple poppies”, he wrote daily.

At 3:55 p.m., he was welcomed outside the factory gate Pierre Dreyfus, then CEO of a diamond company. He will conduct a two-hour survey of buildings, accompanied by Maurice Lemaire, Secretary of State for Industry and Commerceand her husband, Prince Philip.

“He looked both very interested and very interested in good order, by the clothing of these leather-gloved workers who sometimes turned their heads to look briefly at the royal guests”, it further indicated. The world.

The Queen's husband, Prince Philip (right), was there.
The Queen’s husband, Prince Philip (right), was there. (©Claude Bertin)

“We were about thirty or forty photographers. It was exciting. It was elbow-pumping,” recalls Claude Bertin, sent to the event by his father, who held a photography workshop rue Gambetta, in the center of Mantes-la-Jolie. With his colleagues, he is “hidden on a platform in the middle of the factory”.

In its edition of April 17, 1957, Courrier de Mantes returned with a picture of the Queen of England's visit to Mantois.
In its edition of April 17, 1957, Courrier de Mantes returned with a picture of the Queen of England’s visit to Mantois. (©Mantes Courier Archives)

Another photographer, more cunning, will be able to get as close as possible to the king. His photos will be published in Courier of Mantes April 17, 1957. “He was the son of an announcer in the theater of Appolo de Mantes (which no longer exists). He did not have a permit, he entered with me. Later, he went to the base. He found himself in the crowd, next to the Queen. »

Video: currently on Actu
Elizabeth II was held in a convertible Frigate, a fashionable car of the time.
Elizabeth II was held in a convertible Frigate, a fashionable car of the time. (©Claude Bertin)

Claude Bertin will also be able to sneak in. While the manufacturer offers Elizabeth II a A convertible frigate, the current car, he, in the front row, beats this time with his “Rolleiflex 6.6”. He especially painted a beautiful scene where we see the Queen, in profile, wearing a white dress covered with a dark three-quarter length, held behind a convertible. His photos, to his knowledge, have never been released to the public.

Photographer Mantais recalls a tour that was clearly very well managed to the protocol, which did not leave the field for a little anecdote. “I don’t have any specific memories, just that it was very organized,” he recalls. And I was here to do my job. I had no special admiration for the Queen. »

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