Unseen home footage of the Queen to be shown in BBC documentary

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 Princess Elizabeth enjoying a visit to South Africa in 1947 (PA)
Princess Elizabeth enjoying a visit to South Africa in 1947 (PA)

Unseen home movie footage of the Queen sharing intimate moments with her family will be shown in a new BBC documentary.

Viewers will hear Her Majesty narrate part of the programme, explaining the significance of the events.

In one scene, a young Princess Elizabeth beams in a red gingham dress as she shows the camera her engagement ring.

Taken while on the first extended visit of Prince Philip to Balmoral in 1946, the clip shows a private moment before the couple’s engagement became public.

Princess Elizabeth showing off her new engagement ring soon after Prince Philip's marriage proposal at Balmoral in 1946 (PA)
Princess Elizabeth showing off her new engagement ring soon after Prince Philip's marriage proposal at Balmoral in 1946 (PA)

The special 75-minute programme, produced to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, will be shown on BBC One on May 29.

The Queen was a young princess when she first met naval cadet Philip during a visit to the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth, where he was studying.

Philip, who was just 18, was introduced to 13-year-old Elizabeth at the house of the captain of the college.

The pair began writing to each other and Philip was invited to spend the Christmas of 1943 with the royal family at Windsor.

It has previously been suggested the couple became unofficially engaged in the summer of 1946 while they were staying at Balmoral.

Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth with their beloved father King George VI onboard HMS Vanguard in 1947 (PA)
Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth with their beloved father King George VI onboard HMS Vanguard in 1947 (PA)

However, the official announcement was delayed until after Princess Elizabeth reached the age of 21 and returned from a royal tour of South Africa the following year.

The couple wed in November 1947 and were married for 73 years before the Duke of Edinburgh died last April, just a few months before his 100th birthday.

The BBC documentary will depict rare moments including footage of Her Majesty with her uncle Prince George The Duke of Kent and the King’s last visit to Balmoral in 1951.

It will also show the Queen as a young mother to Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

BBC Studios reviewed more than 400 reels of film, discovering lost newsreel and behind the scenes recordings of state events, believed to have been privately commissioned by the royal family.

Filmmakers listened to more than three hundred of the Queen’s speeches, spanning over eight decades, to make the film which will be narrated by the Queen’s own voice and words alongside newsreel audio.

Simon Young, the BBC’s commissioning editor for history, said: “We are honoured that the Queen has entrusted the BBC with such unprecedented access to her personal film collection.

“This documentary is an extraordinary glimpse into a deeply personal side of the royal family that is rarely seen, and it’s wonderful to be able to share it with the nation as we mark her Platinum Jubilee.”

Claire Popplewell, creative director for BBC Studios Productions, said: “As programme-makers who have previously worked closely with the Royal Household on ceremonial and celebratory broadcast events and programmes, the production team were under no illusion quite how special having access to this very personal archive was.

“Being able to draw upon the self-recorded history of a young Princess Elizabeth and her wider family – and allowing the Queen to tell us her own story – is the very heart of this film.”

Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen will air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on May 29.

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