Buckingham Palace has condemned the release of a controversial 1933 film allegedly showing a young Queen Elizabeth II giving a Nazi salute.
The newspaper has published the video online and carries stills on its front page today.
The British tabloid The Sun on Saturday published a story with an image of the future queen, raising her right arm in the air with her mother, the late Elizabeth The Queen Mother, doing the same.
Shocking footage has emerged of the Queen and Queen Mother making a Nazi salute at Balmoral.
The footage is thought to have been shot in 1933 or 1934, when Hitler was rising to prominence as Fuhrer in Germany. This is a family playing and momentarily referencing a gesture many would have seen from contemporary news reels.
According to the source, nobody at that time knew how it (the situation in Germany, ed) would evolve. “To imply anything else is misleading and dishonest”, the source said.
Buckingham Palace said in a statement late Friday that it was “disappointing that film, shot eight decades ago … has been obtained and exploited”, the BBC reported.
“The queen and her family’s service and dedication to the welfare of this nation during the war [World War II] and the 63 years the queen has spent building relations between nations and peoples speaks for itself”, the source added.
However, it says the film gives “a fascinating insight in the warped prejudices of Edward VIII and his friends in that bleak, paranoid, tumultuous decade”. His reign would last less than a year as Edward abdicated the throne in December in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson.
The love that many Britons still have for the Queen Mother, who died in 2002, is largely related to her decision and that of her husband, King George VI, not to leave London during the Blitz, the German bombing of London during the summer of 1940.
The video shows the future queen briefly raising her right hand in the air three times, as well as dancing around excitedly and playing with a corgi.
In June she made her first state visit to Germany where she visited the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and met some of the survivors and liberators.
Military historian James Holland said: “They are all having a laugh, there are lots of smiles, so it’s all a big joke”.
Prince Edward – who faced accusations of being a Nazi sympathiser – also performs the gesture in the film.