A home video uncovered this week, never seen before in public, shows Queen Elizabeth as a young girl, performing the infamous Nazi salute. This video is met with mixed reviews. While historians feel that it belongs on public display, others believe that an informal, background gathering should have remained private.
The New York Daily News reports that the video, which appears online, exclusively in the U.K.’s Sun magazine, depicts the Queen when she was a young princess, around 9 years old, standing outside of the Balmoral Castle, in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Although the exact date when the video was shot isn’t available, it appears to be around 1933 or 1934, well before the princess knew what kind of consequences were to come from making the pose. Princess Elizabeth, along with her mother and her uncle, Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, raised their arms in and gave a Nazi salute to the camera. Her younger sister Margaret appears in the video, but merely waves at the camera and jumps around.
Prince Edward once stated that Hitler was “not a bad chap.” Yet, despite his comments, the video is the only footage ever released in which Prince Edward appeared to show allegiance to Hitler.
There is no indication that Queen Elizabeth, however, was ever a Nazi sympathizer. In fact, according to Dr. Karina Urbach of London’s Institute of Historical Research, the Queen shouldn’t be held liable for something she did as a young child.
“The video is pretty shocking. The Queen has a proud Second World War record and sense of duty to her country and no one would ever suggest she was sympathetic to Nazi Germany. She was a child when this film was shot, long before the atrocities of the Nazis became widely known.”
The Institute of Historical Research’s Research Fellow Juliet Gardiner states that the video is a glimpse into how British people felt about Hitler before they realized his plans for Europe, and because of that, the historical video should be shown to the public.
“It’s an insight into British attitudes towards Germany at that time in 1933, long before everyone really realised Hitler’s designs on Europe. It is absolutely right that the public sees it.”
Last month, Queen Elizabeth, now 89, made her first trip ever to a former Nazi concentration camp. While visiting Germany, she stopped at Bergen-Belsen, where she spoke with camp survivors and the British soldiers who helped save them.
Meanwhile, back at home, the adorable 2-year-old Prince George has a new nickname for Queen Elizabeth. She may be “Your Majesty” to most of the world, but the tiny tot simply calls her “Granny.”
[Photos Courtesy of WPA Pool/Getty Images]