Queen Elizabeth turned 90 years old today, and among the many thousands of tributes one of the most touching is a documentary from the BBC. It’s not just another program with dry facts and figures; the BBC have collected old home movies of the Queen and her children and showed them to the royal family. Prince Charles was the primary narrator of the documentary, but many family members were filmed watching the clips. The reactions of Princes William, Harry, and even Queen Elizabeth herself are priceless.
Elizabeth At 90 – A Family Tribute aired this evening in the U.K. As reported by E! Online, Princes William and Harry “watch[ed] a home video of her son and their father, Prince Charles, toddling around as a small child in a garden at Windsor Castle.” Apparently, the princes spotted some family resemblance as the young Charles, who had a shock of blond hair, sauntered around the garden.
As they watched Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth in the garden with their father, Prince Harry burst out laughing.
“‘He walks like George!'”
The similarity between Prince Charles and Harry’s nephew, Prince George, is indeed uncanny. William agreed, saying “‘there’s a purpose to the walk.”‘
In the few glimpses the public has had of little George, he is certainly an adorably assertive little fellow, which apparently came from his grandfather Prince Charles.
William and Harry enjoyed watching the old films, many of which they said they hadn’t seen before. Prince William reminisced over the Windsor Castle garden.
“‘We’ve probably chased each other around that garden a few times as well,’ he adds. ‘Yeah, not for a while though,’ Harry responds. ‘In the early days when Gan-Gan was around.'”
While Queen Elizabeth is known as Gan-Gan to Prince George, the Gan-Gan for his father and uncle was “their grandmother’s mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who died in 2002 at age 101.”
As well as sweet films of a young Prince Charles with Queen Elizabeth and his little sister Princess Anne, the BBC also included wonderful black and white clips of the early life of Elizabeth and her parents. One particular shot showed Elizabeth and her younger sister, Princess Margaret, singing songs in the garden.
The clip was watched by the late Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Chatto, with tears in her eyes.
Many of the home movies were filmed by Queen Elizabeth herself, notes the Daily Mail.
“Ever since her father gave her a Box Brownie before World War II, a camera has been as indispensable a part of the Queen’s life as her famous handbag. When the technology advanced, so, too, did the Queen, becoming a proficient user of the cine camera. And she has demonstrated an effortless knack of capturing her family at their most informal and most relaxed.”
The movie shows so many touching moments of the young Elizabeth and her children. There are clips of Princess Margaret pulling an infant Charles in a wagon, and of Charles “driving” a toy car, with a tiny bemused Princess Anne looking on.
Speaking about a clip showing the Duke of Edinburgh sliding off a wagon as he careened down a hill, Prince William again saw echoes of his young son.
“‘That was nearly very embarrassing for Grandpa! Grandpa is having more fun than anyone else. There is something about banks that all children just want to roll down. George is just the same.'”
Perhaps the most enjoyable parts of the program are of the family on the Royal Yacht Britannia. They had a water slide fitted and the clips are super-cute. The Queen’s sons Charles, Andrew, Edward, and a few of their cousins took turns looking goofy as they played on the slide, playing around just like a regular family.
As well as old home movies, the documentary included some sweet accolades from the Queen’s family, who all obviously adore Elizabeth. William and Harry’s love for their grandmother was apparent as they paid tribute to her longevity. Prince William spoke with great admiration of the Queen.
“‘She has led where others have faltered. She has just been the most incredible grandmother to me. I wish her a very, very happy 90th birthday. I hope she realises how dear and fond everyone is of her.'”
As the Daily Mail notes, “Harry says he would like to thank her for her lifetime of dedication.”
“‘Thank you, thank you so much for showing us the way and thank you for your service and dedication to the country and the Commonwealth. Thank you.'”
Perhaps the most poignant homage to Queen Elizabeth was that of Margaret Rhodes, whose mother was the Queen Mother’s sister. At only a few months older than Elizabeth, Margaret was her childhood playmate. Rhodes’ message for Queen Elizabeth was short and to the point, and mentioned the Queen’s father, King George VI.
“‘I hope you know how proud the King would be of you if he was able to tell you. Because I think you have carried out your duties as Queen as to be beyond belief.'”
The birthday celebrations for the Queen have been joyous, and its safe to say that the United Kingdom, the Commonwealth, and indeed the world adore Queen Elizabeth. Wonder how the 100th birthday celebrations are going to top them?
[Photo by WPA Pool/Getty Images]