Buckingham Palace is none too happy after the Sun tabloid published a snippet from a 1933 home movie that shows Queen Elizabeth performing a Nazi salute as a child. The video is believed to have been shot in 1933 or 1934 and shows the queen mimicking a gesture made by her mother.
The black and white 17-second footage shows the Queen playing with a dog on the lawn in the gardens of Balmoral.
The Queen Mother then makes a Nazi salute, and after glancing towards her mother the Queen mimics the gesture.
Edward, the then Prince of Wales who abdicated to marry the American socialite Wallis Simpson, is also seen making the salute.
The queen’s uncle, Prince Edward who would later become Edward VIII, has long been seen as a Nazi sympathizer, particularly after he was photographed meeting Hitler in 1937. The palace said it was “disappointing that film, shot eight decades ago … has been obtained and exploited,” according to the BBC.
A royal source, however, said the palace was convinced this wouldn’t affect the queen’s image. “Most people will see these pictures in their proper context and time. This is a family playing and momentarily referencing a gesture many would have seen from contemporary news reels,” the source said. “No one at that time had any sense how it would evolve. To imply anything else is misleading and dishonest.” ITV News Royal Editor Tim Ewart says there is “considerable anger” from the royal family as well as questions about how the footage was obtained. The Sun has refused to say how it got the video only insisting that it was obtained in a “legitimate fashion.”
In an editorial column, the newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch said the images “do not reflect badly on our queen, her late sister or mother in any way” but do “provide a fascinating insight in the warped prejudices of Edward VIII and his friends in that bleak, paranoid, tumultuous decade.” The paper’s managing editor, Stig Abell, told the BBC that the footage is a “matter of national historical significance” but “we’re not, of course, suggesting anything improper on the part of the Queen or indeed the Queen Mum,” reports the Guardian.