The Queen shows her fun side in revealing documentary about her private life

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·TV Reporter, Yahoo Entertainment UK
·3-min read
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Watch: BBC unveils unseen footage of The Queen

The Queen is set to give viewers a rare glimpse behind the formal veil of her life and will show off her fun side in a new BBC documentary marking her Platinum Jubilee.

Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen will share home video footage of the royal family for the first time as the Queen narrates key moments from her 96-year life and 70-year reign.

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In a message recorded at Windsor Castle to introduce the BBC One programme which airs on Sunday, The Queen told how her family videos would show "the fun behind the formality".

She says: “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.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret dancing at the Royal Lodge in Windsor in 1940. (BBC/PA)
Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret dancing at the Royal Lodge in Windsor in 1940. (BBC/PA)

“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.”

She continues: “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.”

Then Princess Elizabeth showing off her new engagement ring in 1946. (BBC/PA)
Then Princess Elizabeth showing off her new engagement ring in 1946. (BBC/PA)

The Queen granted the BBC unprecedented access to hundreds of home-made recordings shot by her, her parents and the Duke of Edinburgh, which have been held privately by the Royal Collection in the British Film Institute (BFI) vaults.

Filmmakers listened to more than 300 of the Queen’s speeches, spanning over eight decades, to make the film in which she refers to her grandfather, George V, as as “Grandpa England”.

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Grainy black-and-white footage of a young Princess Elizabeth with her uncle Prince George, The Duke of Kent, who died in a plane crash in 1942 while on active service, and the King’s last visit to Balmoral in 1951 are among the rare moments captured in the documentary.

It will also show the Queen as a young mother with the King and Queen fond as grandparents to her little children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Princess Margaret, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip at a picnic at Balmoral in 1946. (BBC/PA)
Princess Margaret, Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip at a picnic at Balmoral in 1946. (BBC/PA)

A young Elizabeth and her sister, Princess Margaret, are seen dancing and there are also glimpses of them crawling and playing in the garden as infants with their father King George VI.

Footage shot by The Queen and Philip on her first solo tour, to Canada in 1951, shows behind-the-scenes moments of their downtime, which contrasts with the more formal, high-profile tour that featured on newsreels. Philip can be seen joking around in some clips that were filmed amid stormy seas.

BBC Studios Productions creative director Claire Popplewell said: "There’s a wonderful extended montage of Prince Philip – water-skiing, playing chase with a dog, riding the children’s toy vehicles – which, combined with The Queen’s words about him, is incredibly moving."

Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen will air on Sunday at 7.45pm on BBC One.

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