As part of the Royal Childhood exhibition opening at Buckingham Palace on Saturday, Queen Elizabeth II has allowed family home video footage to be released for public viewing – most of the stills and videos have never been seen before.
In one grainy video, Princess Elizabeth can be seen catapulting her little sister Princess Margaret in the air with glee as the pair enjoy a giggly ride on a traditional seesaw in their garden.
Another highlight is seeing the Queen Mother (the Queen at the time the film was shot in the 1930s) performing a choreographed line dance with her daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, alongside their governess, Marion Crawford, known as “Crawfie” – the foursome laughing as they jig around energetically onboard a royal yacht.
In other scenes, the Queen (who was in her early 20s and still a princess) can be seen hiding her face behind a handkerchief, playing peekaboo with Prince Charles as a baby. Her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, seems hands-on as a father, as he races along on a miniature bike with both Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
There’s even a glimpse of the Queen’s father, King George VI (whose story was told in The King’s Speech), with his toddler grandson Prince Charles.
“It’s easy to forget that Buckingham Palace, now one of the most famous buildings in the world, was purchased as a family home [in 1762], and has remained so for over 250 years,” says the exhibition curator Anna Reynolds. “This exhibition gives visitors a very personal insight into life as a young member of the royal family.”
The exhibition, which also features much-loved toys, treasured family gifts and tiny outfits belonging to nine generations of royal children, opens on July 26 and runs until Sept. 28.