A treasure trove of footage of the Queen from her personal film archive is to be shown for the first time, including clips of the young princess showing off her engagement ring months before the announcement went public.
The monarch has granted documentarians unprecedented access to hundreds of personal recordings filmed by her, her parents and Duke of Edinburgh to mark his arrival Platinum Jubilee.
The home movies, which had been privately held by the Royal Collection in the vaults of the British Film Institute (BFI), capture the life of the Queen from being pushed in a pram by her mother to her coronation in 1953.
The 75-minute documentary, titled Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen, includes the first extended visit of Prince Philip at Balmoral in 1946 while the couple’s engagement was still private.
It features a delighted Princess Elizabeth showing the camera her engagement ring.
The Queen was a young princess when she first met Prince Philip in 1939 during a visit to the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, where he was a sea cadet.
Philip, who was 18, was introduced to 13-year-old Elizabeth at the college captain’s house.
The couple began to write to each other and Philip was invited to spend Christmas 1943 with the royal family in Windsor.
It was previously suggested the couple became unofficially engaged in the summer of 1946 while staying at Balmoral, but the official announcement was delayed until Princess Elizabeth was 21 and returned from a royal tour of South Africa the following year.
The couple married in November 1947 and remained together for 73 years until the Death of the Duke of Edinburgh last April, just months before his 100th birthday.
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The BBC documentary will portray rare moments, including footage of Princess Elizabeth with her uncle Prince George.
The Duke of Kent, who died in a plane crash in 1942 while on active service, and the King’s last visit to Balmoral in 1951 will also feature.
It will also show the Queen as a young mother with the King and Queen’s loving grandparents of Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
BBC Studios has sifted through more than 400 film reels, uncovering lost newsreels and behind-the-scenes recordings of state events, believed to have been privately commissioned by the Royal Family.
The filmmakers listened to over 300 Queen’s Speeches, spanning over eight decades, to craft the film which will be told in the Queen’s voice and words alongside newsreel audio.
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Simon Young, BBC History Editor, said: “This documentary is an extraordinary insight 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 it Platinum Jubilee.”
Claire Popplewell, Creative Director of BBC Studios Productions, said: “To be able to take inspiration from the self-recorded story of a young Princess Elizabeth and her extended family – and allow the Queen to tell us her own story – is the very heart of this film.”
Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen airs on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on May 29