Elizabeth - The Unseen Queen: Never before-seen footage released for BBC Jubilee documentary

·2-min read
Elizabeth - The Unseen Queen: Never before-seen footage released for BBC Jubilee documentary

Never before seen archival footage of The Queen has been released in anticipation of the forthcoming documentary Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen.

The teaser, which was broadcast for the first time on BBC One on Thursday, shows The Queen as a young princess, skipping on the Royal Yacht Britannia, smiling into the camera as a teenager, grinning with her younger sister Princess Margaret and standing in a garden in a khaki skirt-suit gesturing to the flowers around her.

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)

“Winston Churchill, my first Prime Minister, said that the further backward you look, the further forward you can see,” says the Queen in the 30-second teaser.

The new documentary will share personal videos of The Queen that were recorded by her family, herself, Prince Philip and others over the years. It covers her life from being a baby – seen in the trailer in a pram – up to her 1953 coronation. The documentary will be released on May 29, a week before the Jubilee extravaganza weekend celebrating her 70-year reign.

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Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen will be narrated by The Queen herself and will include audio in the form of newsreel announcements.

The 75-minute film is a window into a past world. It’ll show Princess Elizabeth with her uncle Prince George, who died in a military plane crash during the Second World War, as well as 1946 engagement to Prince Philip at Balmoral (the engagement had not been publicly announced at this point). It also shows King George V (the Queen’s grandfather) sailing with The Queen Mother in 1931 and King George VI’s 1951 visit to Balmoral – his last before his 1952 death.

It also shows the Queen as a young mother and Prince Charles and Princess Anne as children.

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

In order to make the documentary, the BBC was given “unprecedented access” to footage of Queen Elizabeth that had been stored for decades at the Royal Collection vaults at the British Film Institute.

BBC Studios revealed that in order to make the documentary they watched over 400 reels of film, which included behind the scene footage of state events. The BBC also listened to over 300 of the Queen’s speeches, which spanned an astonishing 80-year period.

Simon Young, the BBC’s commissioning editor for history, said: "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."

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

Creative director for BBC Studio Events Productions, Claire Popplewell said: "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 be released on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on May 29.

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