Queen's Jubilee: Unearthed home movies show a young Princess Elizabeth

HM on the high seas! Unseen royal home movie shows the young Princess Elizabeth playing catch with her father and posing with Margaret on 1947 trip to South Africa

  • A new documentary will air previously unseen footage from private home movies of the Queen as child
  • Videos will show a young Princess Elizabeth relaxing with her family and during days off from official duties
  • BBC One will air Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen documentary on May 29 ahead of the Platinum Jubilee 

Beaming alongside her father and sister, this is the young Princess Elizabeth enjoying a trip on the high seas. 

The footage, taken in 1947, shows the then 20-year-old future queen playing catch with King George VI and playfully trying on a pair of sunglasses before giggling into the camera. 

The shots are taken from a private home movie captured on HMS Vanguard, the vessel which took the Royal Family to South Africa for a tour in February-April 1947. 

It will be broadcast on the BBC – which was granted unprecedented access to the reels by the Queen – in its Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen documentary, which airs on May 29. 

Beaming alongside her father and sister, this is the young Princess Elizabeth enjoying a trip on the high seas. The shots are taken from a private home movie captured on HMS Vanguard, the vessel which took the Royal Family to South Africa in 1947

The videos show sisters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in a more relaxed manner while on a break in South Africa 

The Royal Family have filmed each other since the 1920s but hundreds of these home-made recordings have been held privately by the Royal Collection in the vaults of the British Film Institute for decades.

Now they will be shared with the public, giving viewers a fresh insight into the life of the Queen as she celebrates her historic 70 years on the throne. 

In a new preview clip released ahead of this weekend’s documentary, George VI is seen smiling alongside his daughters Elizabeth and Margaret. 

The princesses, both wearing pretty tea dresses with cardigans, chat happily with their father as the camera rolls. 

Elsewhere Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, is seen soaking up the sun. A jovial George VI, dapper in his sailor whites, strides across the deck before staring into the lens. 

His close relationship with his eldest daughter is glimpsed in an impromptu game of throw and catch.

The footage, taken in 1947, shows the then 20-year-old future queen playing catch with King George VI and playfully trying on a pair of sunglasses, seen above, before giggling into the camera

A jovial George VI, dapper in his sailor whites, strides across the deck before staring into the lens, pictured. Elsewhere Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, is seen soaking up the sun

George VI’s close relationship with his eldest daughter is glimpsed in an impromptu game of throw and catch, pictured

The Royal Family have filmed each other since the 1920s but hundreds of these home-made recordings have been held privately by the Royal Collection in the vaults of the British Film Institute for decades. Now they will be shared with the public, giving viewers a fresh insight into the life of the Queen as she celebrates her historic 70 years on the throne

Royal Navy seamen busy themselves as the camera pans to them, showing how they kept the vessel shipshape for their VIP passengers.

Elizabeth looks young and carefree in the video, smiling beneath the broad blue sky. 

The footage is set to speeches given by Her Majesty: her 1996 Christmas broadcast in which she discusses the importance of building relations with other countries, and her address at the Guildhall on June 11th, 1947 a couple of months after returning from Africa.

The documentary traces the Queen’s journey from earliest childhood, being pushed in a pram as a baby by her mother, to her Coronation at the age of just 27 in 1953, following the death of her father George VI in 1952.

The documentary takes viewers behind the scenes of The Queen’s upbringing and reveals the warmth of her relationship with her parents. 

Princess Elizabeth in South Africa in March 1947 during a three day break from official duties at Royal Natal National Park

The Queen when she was just 20 years old on a visit to South Africa in 1947

One clip shows the young Elizabeth at the Royal Lodge in Windsor in 1940, where she frolics in matching dresses with Princess Margaret – and a corgi – and falls backwards on a chair in an apparent prank by George VI.

It captures the first extended visit of Prince Philip to Balmoral in 1946 while the couple’s engagement was still not public – a beaming Princess Elizabeth showing the camera her engagement ring. 

It also shows Princess Elizabeth as a young mother, with The King and Queen as fond grandparents to Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

Other rare moments include her grandfather George V (known to The Queen as ‘Grandpa England’) sailing with the Queen Mother off the Isle of Wight in 1931, footage of Princess Elizabeth with her uncle Prince George, the Duke of Kent, who tragically died in a plane crash in 1942 while on active service – and a poignant glimpse of the Royal Family at Balmoral in 1951, King George VI’s last visit there.

Unlike conventional documentaries featuring interviews and narration, Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen relies largely on The Queen’s own voice and words, alongside newsreel audio. 

The filmmakers listened to over three hundred of The Queen’s speeches, spanning over eight decades. 

BBC One documentary The Queen Unseen features previously unseen footage from the royal family’s home video collection. Pictured: Princess Elizabeth playing with her father King George VI and her sister Princess Margaret at the Royal Lodge in Windsor, 1940

Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth dancing at Royal Lodge Windsor in 1940, with a pet corgi next to them

The footage from family movies shows young princess with a beaming smile

Queen Mary and Princess Elizabeth stand next to each other posing for the camera

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