06/01/2012

Rare film footage of Queen recalls a golden age

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This picture released by Buckingham Palace on June 1 shows Prince Charles and Princess Anne buried in the sand at Holkham Beach near Norfolk in the summer of 1957. It's part of a package of previously unreleased photos and film footage that is part of a BBC special on the Queen and the Diamond Jubilee (Getty Images)

You will be able to cut the air of nostalgia with a rusty knife this weekend as the royal clock is turned back on the life and times of Queen Elizabeth.

You might think that there's not much more to dig up in the image department of her life, since it has been duly recorded almost every step of the way.

Yet, there are several finds among material released this week, including home movies courtesy of Prince Charles, and a 1941 film from the British Council, "Royal Road" (see video below).

Charles pays tribute to the his mom in a BBC program, sharing some of his own childhood memories. He recalls one incident when he was four years old, just before Elizabeth's coronation, watching his mother prepare for the big event.

"I remember my Mama coming, you know, up, when we were being bathed as children, wearing the crown. It was quite funny -- practising," he said.

Charles also hauls out some footage of himself as a child. One scene -- filmed by his mom -- shows Charles and Anne being buried up to their neck in the sand of Holkham Beach in Norfolk. A corgi in the background gives a hint of the moviemaker.

Other home movies were taken at Balmoral, Windsor and on the Royal Yacht Britannia.

"My mama takes great pride in her family, from being a young mother at the start of her reign, to now being a great grandmother twice over," said Charles.

ElizCharles says: "The fact that my Mama has been a constant feature on the scene has provided that sense, I think, of continuity in a time of immense change over 60 years."

The admiration doesn't stop there:

"I think just the sheer number of heads of state who are coming to the jubilee celebrations shows the respect and affection with which my Mama is held all around the world," he says on the program.

He seems especially fond of some of the headgear the Queen gets to wear, especially when opening Parliament:  "I've always thought my Mama looks absolutely wonderful in that tiara." (right photo)

On another trip down memory lane, the British Council has released a short film online called "Royal Road." Shot in 1941, as World War II was raging, it shows the Royal Family at its wartime best.

Included is a segment on the family riding around Windsor Castle, which was their main refuge during the war. It's a rare glimpse of what life must have been like for the the girl who, a dozen years later, would become Queen.

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Prince Charles  introduces his mother, Queen Elizabeth, to his school teachers and fellow pupils at the Hill House School Sports Day in west London, in this 1957 photograph, which is part of a BBC special being aired as a tribute from Charles to his mother.

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Princess Elizabeth is seen in this still image taken from archive film footage from "Royal Road." It was shot  during a car trip with her parents and sister around the grounds of Windsor Castle in 1941.

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Princess Elizabeth is seen with her sister Margaret doing some knitting on the grounds of Windsor Castle in 1941. The image comes from the film "Royal Road."

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Queen Elizabeth, left (later the Queen Mother), Elizabeth, Margaret and King George VI set up tables and chairs during a trip around Windsor Castle in 1941, as depicted in the film Royal Road.

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Elizabeth strikes a familiar pose, waving to the camera while taking a ride with her family around Windsor Castle in 1941 for a film.

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Elizabeth is joined by her mother Queen Elizabeth and father King George VI in this still image taken from archive film footage of "Royal Road" from 1941 and released to mark the Diamond Jubilee.

 

 

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Whether you are a monarchy supporter or not, there is little doubt that the reign of Elizabeth II has been the one thing that has, indeed, been the constant factor in the lives of most Canadians that are alive today.

God Bless the Queen!

Brings back so many good and sad memories.

I know this must be a pretty ovbious to most, but since Princess Margaret was older than Queen Elizabeth, why was she not made queen? ARe they not both the children of King George VI and the Queen MOther?

Mario-Queen Elizabeth was born four years before Princess Margaret.
Thus, Princess Elizabeth became the queen as the eldest daughter.

My parents and grandparents lived in Canada when WW2 broke out. Back then, there were closer ties to Britain and these news stories were played at the local movie theaters all over Canada. My uncle, was stationed in England which later, unfortunately, took him to the shores of Dieppe.
I can just imagine how uncertain things were back in those days. The people then were so much more resilient and thank God they were.
Just look at the devastation in London after the bombings in this news story! Can you imagine our citizens pulling together in today's egocentric world like that to clean up after the air raids blew up half the neighbourhood? I think not.
We often forget what went before us and what generations did to survive.
We have much to remember and much to learn.

I like the Royals just fine but I think that the Monarchy has lost its relevancy in this day and age. With people fighting for their freedom all over the world, I don't see why anyone should be born to privilege.

Hate to disappoint you, Marlio, but Princess Margaret was the Queen's second child, born four yeas and change after her big sister Elizabeth on Aug. 21, 1930. (I remember because I was born the day after). ; - )

The simple answer, Marlio, is that Princess Margaret was the younger sister. Elizabeth was born in 1926, while Margaret was born 4 years later.

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