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Rare films of the Queen’s childhood online in time for the Jubilee

  • Royal Road - the family in the garden at Windsor

Royal Road - the family in the garden at Windsor

  • The young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in Royal Road

    The young Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret in Royal Road

1 June 2012

Just in time to mark the Diamond Jubilee, we’re delighted to release two new films from the British Council Film Collection, each showing the Queen as a young Princess, which have been unseen for 50 years.

The films are from our own film archive, which dates back to late 1939. An initial 80 of the films were made available online right here at the beginning of May 2012, and individual films from the Collection have now been viewed more than 360,000 times since it launched. The two films released today are new additions to the Collection – and a further 35 will be added during the coming year.

New on the site today are Royal Road (1942), an incredible behind-the-scenes glimpse of life in the Royal Household, finishing with beautiful pictures of the young Princess Elizabeth and her sister in the gardens of Windsor Castle with her family and pet corgis. King George VI took a personal interest in the making of the film allowing unprecedented access to his home and family.

Also uploaded today is Westminster Abbey (1942), a tour of the historic Abbey, including footage of Princess Elizabeth looking on with the rest of the Royal Family as her father, King George VI, is crowned. The film took three years to make, due to the difficulty of filming in the Abbey during wartime, not least as many of the monuments had been removed.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the Royals feature often in the Collection films. Other films already online featuring the Royal Family are: British News #1-3; British News #5; The Great Game; London 1942; Women in War-time. For a full breakdown, download the document at top right of this page.

The Collection is proving to be a treasure trove of British history that’s enthralling viewers the world over – over 360,000 people have now viewed a film from the Collection since we launched on 3 May 2012.  The whole Collection – including these new films – is being made available to download with a ‘Creative Commons’ licence, and we very much encourage viewers to use the films to spark their own creative ideas – perhaps even adding in their own Jubilee images.

Have a look at the complete Collection here - and enjoy a taster with a trailer for the Collection here.