The best pictures of 2023 as chosen by photographers

King Charles III is crowned Credit: PA

Celebrations, coronations, court cases and climate crisis protests - it was a year of huge events, many of them captured by photographers at the PA news agency.

Here they choose their favourite images of 2023 and the stories behind them:

  • A King is crowned

Victoria Jones

“We needed to ensure that the moment that the King was crowned by the Archbishop was covered by every angle of our cameras, but without a single photographer visible.

"For two weeks I crawled through decades-old dust beneath the Abbey floorboards, dangled on a harness from the altar and battled through dense floral arrangements, surviving on a diet of Pret sandwiches, all whilst being surrounded by priceless religious artefacts, in order to lay over one mile of cabling around the Abbey that would enable us to remotely operate our cameras from behind a wall, out of sight of the congregation."

  • Coronation Chair

King Charles in the Coronation Chair, with St Edward’s Crown, The Sovereign’s Sceptre with the Dove and The Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross. Credit: PA

Jonathan Brady

“Although I have a selection of favourite images from that day, including an image of the very coronation moment, this one still resonates the most with me."

  • Prince Louis steals the show

The Prince of Wales, Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis, the Princess of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh at the coronation. Credit: PA

Yui Mok

"Amongst all the moments during the two-hour ceremony – the arrival of the various members of the royal family, the sanctity of the anointing, the crownings of the King and the Queen, the overall pomp and circumstance of the service – it was the sight of Prince Louis yawning that stole the show for me!"

  • Princess Charlotte waves

Princess Charlotte and Prince George return to Buckingham Palace by coach after the coronation. Credit: PA

Joe Giddens

"As the carriages pulled away at the end of the coronation, I picked out the one carrying the Prince and Princess of Wales and their children.

"I was hoping to get a nice shot of the children but trying to capture an image inside a moving vehicle, shooting through rain and the carriage window is never easy! I fired away and as I did, I noticed that for a split second Princess Charlotte had looked in my direction, smiled and waved!"

  • Ceremony for a King

Charles, surrounded by faith leaders while in the Coronation Chair, during his coronation ceremony. Credit: PA

Aaron Chown

“King Charles III’s coronation marked the first crowning of a British monarch since the invention of digital cameras. It was a momentous event to be part of and to capture in images.

“The particular image stands out as my top pick, thanks to the vibrant colours and pageantry of the event captured in the frame.”

  • Russell Brand

Russell Brand leaves the Troubabour Wembley Park theatre in north-west London after performing a comedy set. Credit: PA

James Manning

“Walking out, the pitch-black night erupted into strobes of flashes left and right, the whole sequence only lasting seconds. While I held down the shutter button I could only hope everything went to plan. Just when I thought it was over, a light in the van gently lit up his face, I rushed to adjust my exposure before getting the picture seen."

  • Amur leopard cub

The only surviving critically endangered Amur leopard cub born in Europe this year, with its mother Kristen, at the Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Credit: PA

Danny Lawson

“After what seemed like an eternity, the cub and her mother tentatively made their way down a narrow passage linking their housing to the enclosure. They stopped moments before stepping out into open view."

  • Princess of Wales in Scotland

The Princess of Wales, known as the Duchess of Rothesay in Scotland, during the service of Thanksgiving for King Charles and Queen Camilla. Credit: PA

Jane Barlow

“The inside of the cathedral is very dark, however there was a magical moment at the start of the service where a shaft light, like a spotlight, just seemed to come from nowhere and perfectly illuminated the Princess of Wales.”

  • High Court Harry

The Duke of Sussex arriving at the High Court. Credit: PA

Jordan Pettitt

"I managed to break away from the pack as the Duke of Sussex turned the corner and caught this fleeting moment as he smirks and strolls into the court for the start of the case.

"This shot and others I got from the Duke of Sussex’s impromptu entrance made the front page and inside spreads of the following day’s newspapers."

  • Horse racing At Lingfield

A runner and rider in action as they compete in the Sky Sports Racing Sky 415 Handicap Hurdle at Lingfield Park Racecourse. Credit: PA

Zac Goodwin

"The horses made their way to post with the backdrop of the setting sun slowly fading. As expected, the light started to fade as the race began and the disappointment started to set in. I stuck in position in the hope that the light would leak out during the final lap.

"As the horses ran along the final straight, I was gifted with a momentary break of sun, providing me with the perfect opportunity to silhouette the horses against the orange burst."

  • Backflip

Blackburn Rovers’ Tyrhys Dolan celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game during the Sky Bet Championship match at Ewood Park. Credit: PA

Martin Rickett

"I like this picture because it is very different to most goal celebrations in football, as Tyrhys used his athleticism to perform a back flip. I’ve caught a split-second moment as he looks like he’s levitating, suspended in the air."

  • Disruption at the Crucible

A Just Stop Oil protester throws orange powder during the match between Robert Milkins against Joe Perry at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield. Credit: PA

Mike Egerton

"A man just appeared from the front row and climbed on to the table and emptied a bag of orange powder all over the baize. The whole incident lasted no more than 10 seconds before he was dragged off by security guards.

"Thankfully I was in the correct position with the right lens as I would have had no time to change. The one thing that sticks with me is the protester smiling at me as he is being dragged away."

  • Treble winners

Credit: PA

Nick Potts

"I just like the faces on the Manchester City players as all their life’s dreams are just held for few seconds in their faces as they win the biggest club trophy in the world while the manager Pep, who has won this trophy so many times already, looks so calm and just happy for everyone else."

  • European glory

Europe’s Carlota Ciganda reacts after Team Europe retain The Solheim Cup during day three of the 2023 Solheim Cup at Finca Cortesin, Malaga. Credit: PA

John Walton

"The reason for selecting this image is because I like how it shows the intense emotion on her face as she celebrates wildly. Team Europe sealed an improbable result to retain the Solheim cup.

"Golf is not something I photograph often. For me personally it was fabulous to witness the changing emotions of both teams on that final day of competition.

"The excitement of the fans as the drama worked its way to the climax."


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