Queen: Footage shows 'fun behind the formality'

By Mary O'Connor
BBC News

  • Published
Media caption,
The Unseen Queen: A young Princess Elizabeth explores the Balmoral Estate in Scotland

The Queen has given the world glimpses into "the fun behind the formality" of royal life in an upcoming documentary.

Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen will follow her life as a princess through hundreds of clips that are being released for the first time.

The footage will show her early life, from being pushed in a pram by her mother, to her coronation in 1953.

In a message for the show, the 96-year-old told of her love of home videos for capturing "precious family moments".

The 75-minute documentary is being broadcast on Sunday evening ahead of the monarch's Platinum Jubilee celebrations next week.

Ahead of the documentary, further footage of the Queen shot by her, her parents, the Duke of Edinburgh and others has been released.

In one, from 1940, a young Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, can be seen dancing in matching blue and white polka dot dresses as their corgi watches on.

Another from the same year shows the future Queen falling off a chair in the garden of Royal Lodge Windsor during a playful exchange with her father, King George VI.

A third image from 1939 shows Princess Elizabeth and her sister beaming at the camera as they spend time at the Balmoral estate.

Footage previously released ahead of the documentary included an image of Princess Elizabeth beaming at her engagement ring soon after Prince Philip's marriage proposal.

Image caption,
A young Princess Margaret and her older sister Princess Elizabeth are seen larking about in matching dresses with their dog

In a personal message recorded at Windsor Castle to introduce the documentary, the Queen said: "Cameras have always been a part of our lives.

"I think there's a difference to watching a home-movie, when you know who it is on the other side of the lens, holding the camera. It adds to the sense of intimacy.

"Like many families, my parents wanted to keep a record of our precious moments together. And when it was our turn with our own family, we did the same.

Image caption,
The future Queen is seen falling off a chair in the garden during a playful exchange with her father, King George VI

"I always enjoyed capturing family moments.

"Private photos can often show the fun behind the formality.

"I expect just about every family has a collection of photographs or films that were once regularly looked at to recall precious moments but which, over time, are replaced by newer images and more recent memories."

"You always hope that future generations will find them interesting, and perhaps be surprised that you too were young once."

Image caption,
A young Princess Margaret (left) and Princess Elizabeth smile for the camera as they spend time on the Balmoral Estate

BBC Studios reviewed more than 400 reels of film, privately held by the Royal Collection in the vaults of the British Film Institute, and discovered lost newsreel given to The Queen and behind-the-scenes recordings of state events.

Filmmakers also listened to more than three hundred of the Queen's speeches across 80 years.

Media caption,
Watch: New BBC film shows The Queen's unseen family videos

Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen, will air on Sunday 29 May at 19:45 BST on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.