In the archives of...
Life, Loomis Dean Catching Royals
When I was working in Paris, I had a beautiful leather camera case made. It looked like a diplomat’s briefcase. With a necktie on, and if my suit fit, I could walk right into places where they threw the other bums out.
I photographed 11 kings. I got the kings of Norway, Sweden and Belgium, and the Queen of Holland, and two would-be kings of France, and the crown prince of Germany (the Kaiser's grandson) and the kings of Italy, Spain, Morocco and Jordan.
My favorite was Juanito, the son of Don Juan, Count of Barcelona, who was supposed to become King except Franco selected his son, Juan Carlos. We were on a first-name basis for a long time. Oh, don't forget, the King of Greece—I did the father and son. The son, Constantine, is married to the little Danish girl. He and I were great buddies too. They were a poor family, poor kings, and they wanted him to marry a rich queen. So they flew the two fat Dutch girls down there, and he wouldn't have them. He married the beautiful little Danish princess whose sister married the King of Spain. I did a whole round of princesses when Princess Margaret in England got married to Anthony Armstrong-Jones. When I went to do the Greek ones, I told the palace, “I want something totally informal.”
They said, “The girls are in a sailing race tomorrow.”
“That’s ideal,” I said. They were charming, and I got them down on the boat and saw them putting up the sails and all that. Some kid, barefooted and in a pair of white shorts, was helping them with the boat. I thought he was a little familiar with them, but he was speaking English, so I said, “Hey, kid. Help me with that bag there.”
How'd I know he was the crown prince? Later, at some great, lavish country house, he helped me set things up. He said, “How are you getting along?”
I said, “I love everything in Greece but that terrible retsina wine.”
He said, “Oh, you don't like retsina?”
I said, “It tastes like paint thinner.” (It does, too.)
“You haven't had the good stuff,” he said. “Come with me.” We went back into the kitchen, and he told them, “Bring out so-and-so and so-and-so,” and he had about six or eight bottles. Constantine and I were sitting back there tasting it.
He said, “Don't you like that?”
I said, “It still tastes like kerosene.”
He made a good king, until he got thrown out.
(Interviewed on November 4, 1993. Excerpted from: John Loengard, LIFE Photographers: What They Saw, Boston, A Bullfinch Press Book, 1998)