Gallery: A Toronto Photographer Snapped King Charles on Multiple Canadian Tours; See Some of His Favourite Candid Shots

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Then Prince Charles showing off his DJing skills at the UforChange youth centre in Toronto in 2012. "At first he wasn’t wearing the headphones. Then someone handed him a set and we asked him to put them on," photographer Tom Sandler recalls. "We were all thrilled when he did. He was a very good sport." Photo: Tom Sandler

From riding a TTC bus in Toronto to meeting local wool weavers in Nova Scotia, photographer Tom Sandler has been across the country with King Charles — then Prince of Wales — over the years. Select the “View Gallery” button on the image above to see 13 of Sandler’s favourite photos that he’s snapped of the new King in Canada over the years.


Toronto photographer Tom Sandler is no stranger to turning his lens toward high-profile subjects. For years the 73-year-old has snapped the city’s elite out on the town for the Toronto Star, and has had photos appear in publications ranging from the Globe and Mail to The Hollywood Reporter to the New York Times.

But his highest-profile gigs occur when the Royal Family comes to town. Sandler began shooting the royals on their trips to Canada in the ’80s, eventually becoming the official photographer for Prince Edward’s visits. Sandler recalls that, in 2004, the then Earl of Wessex even “asked me if they could use one of my photographs for their official royal Christmas card. It was a huge honour. They sent me a signed copy of the card.”

Sandler also remembers a special moment he shared with Queen Elizabeth II — who he calls “a decent and kind person with a great sense of humour” — during a 2007 royal visit to Toronto.

The moment occurred at the Royal York hotel, where Sandler was tasked with taking a group photo with the Queen and others in attendance. Except there were strict rules — he could only snap three photos. If that wasn’t enough pressure, his flash didn’t go off for the first shot. The flash worked for the other two shots, thankfully, but Sandler was stunned when, after the third photo, the Queen rose from her chair and walked toward him. 

“[She] stopped right in front of me. I said ‘Hello Your Majesty, how are you?’ She said, ‘I’m fine, thank you.’ She then said ‘Did you know your flash didn’t go off on the first shot?’ I was speechless. It was such an unexpected encounter. I will always treasure it.”

The royal that Sandler has spent the most time with, however, is King Charles. Sandler became the official Canadian photographer for the Prince’s Charities Canada in 2012 but, all told, he photographed the then Prince of Wales on 15 different Canadian tours in both Ontario and out east.

“I know first hand that on all the visits I did for [Charles], he was genuinely interested in the people he met and the things they were doing. He was always happy to come to Canada to support and promote all his causes and projects,” Sandler recalls. 

His photographs of Charles include the requisite meetings with dignitaries, but also far more rare and candid moments. Imagine, for example, taking a photo of the future King boarding a bus in Toronto while clutching his very own personalized metro pass. Or, asking Charles to put on a pair of headphones while poised at a DJ booth, ready to drop a beat. 

These are just some of Sandler’s favourite shots of Charles that he’s captured, which you can view in a slideshow by hitting the “View Gallery” button on the image at the top of this page. 

“I believe [Charles] had and will continue to have a positive influence in the world,” Sandler says. “He has a great sense of humour and is very forward thinking … He has a great deal to offer and show us. I hope his ideas, visions and actions will continue to grow and be realized in the future.”


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