The Queen pictured like never before messing around in the pool, eating and riding with a dictator

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A young queen with horses on a Canadian tour in 1951


The Queen may be the most famous woman in the world, but she still remains an enigma.
However, candid never-before-seen footage of Her Majesty lifts the royalty of the mask to show who she really is as a wife, mother, animal lover, cook, farmer and actress in new ITV documentary The Queen Unseen.

Usually a very private woman, the invisible home movies and recently digitized ‘lost’ material from some of the 116 countries she has visited reveal the real Elizabeth Windsor in rare moments of rest.

Amateur footage of the New Zealand tour, of the Queen on the Royal Train, has not been shown for almost 70 years and much of it has never been seen in the UK.

In 1953 the Queen went on a tour of the Commonwealth with the Duke of Edinburgh which took her away from home and her young children for six months and she requested that her travels be filmed so that she could show them to the prince Charles and the princess. Anne on her return

Other unseen archives provide a glimpse of her early attempts to perfect her public personality, having to smile even when she feels exhausted.

A young queen wearing sunglasses and holding a cinematic camera on Christmas Day, 1953

In a rare and unseen private film, we get a glimpse of the young queen on leave.

Taking a short break from the grueling tour, the royal couple stayed with New Zealand Governor General Sir Willougby Norrie, whose wife filmed the Christmas visit.

Her daughter Sarah Stephenson, was 10 at the time and remembers the excitement of the Queen’s stay.

“There were a lot of gifts for Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who were very young and were at home in England, so it must have been very difficult for the Queen and the Duke to leave their children behind for such a long journey, ”she said. said.

“There was a time when my sister and I would take our dogs for a walk, and the Queen said she wished she could come with us. “

Sarah shares private footage of the Queen joining the family at the outdoor pool, as the Duke of Edinburgh struggles to climb a lilo in the water.

The Queen and Prince Philip take a traditional sleigh ride on their Canadian tour in 1951

Back in England, the Queen found her public figure under close scrutiny and was criticized in a magazine article by a Tory peer who described her as a ‘priggish schoolgirl’.

But around the same time as this article, the Queen was on vacation in the Scottish Isles, and other home movie footage shows her relaxing and cooking for her friends on a barbecue.

Royal biographer Robert Hardman says: “There was no date, she could get up whenever she wanted, wear what she liked, the whole family was there and it just wasn’t happening anywhere else.” . “

Lady Glenconner, who was a bridesmaid at her coronation, sees the footage for the first time.

She is moved when she sees her own mother at the movies, vacationing with the royal party in the 1950s, and building sandcastles with Princess Anne.

The film sheds new light on the Queen’s relationship with her eldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, with resting footage showing a warm relationship.

However, her public role as queen created the impression of a cold parent.

A young queen with horses on a Canadian tour in 1951

There are also snaps from the Queen and Prince Philip’s Canadian tour in 1951 – showing the couple taking a traditional sleigh ride.

Shot in color for a film called Royal Journey – it was the first color feature film made in Canada. The rushes had to be airlifted to New York to be developed.

The young queen can also be seen spending time with the horses while wearing her balaclava to protect her from the blizzard.

Another recently discovered film reel shows seven-year-old Queen Elizabeth II playing in the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor.

Having fun with her parents and sister, he reveals the loving family life she had before Edward VIII’s abdication.

Lady Glenconner says, “It’s lovely. The king looks so happy… I guess he wasn’t king at the time. He pretends to cut Princess Elizabeth’s hair with his scissors. They are so natural and happy. “

Queen with baby Prince Andrew at Balmoral in 1960
Queen with baby Prince Andrew at Balmoral in 1960

The Queen Unseen looks back on her pregnancy with her third child, Prince Andrew, and then her youngest son, Prince Edward.

We see a snap of the Queen with seven month old Prince Andrew in some of the first color photos taken of the young prince.

There are also talks about how the Queen has changed her parenting style with her two youngest children.

She rearranged plans and meetings to spend more time with them and be able to sleep them.

Royal biographer Jane Ridley says: “When Edward was born, the Queen did things like change the time of her regular weekly Tuesday meeting with the Prime Minister, so that she had time to go play with the babies and to put them to bed ”.

As the boys got older, the Queen and Prince Philip allowed more photocalls as a family and even allowed TV cameras to enter their home.

A young queen rises with President Tito Belgrade in 1972
A young queen rises with President Tito Belgrade in 1972

As the film delves into her private life, there are also some of her biggest moments on the world stage.

The Queen became the first monarch to visit a communist country when she met President Tito in Belgrade in 1972.

From never-before-seen footage from the height of the Cold War, the Queen is seen relaxing with the President as she eats an orange he plucks from a tree.

This is an incredibly rare moment as the Queen rarely eats in public.

She is seen laughing and displaying a captivating smile as Tito himself drives her in a bizarre golf buggy.

On humor, Charles Anson, who was Her Majesty’s Press Secretary from 1990 to 1997, says: “There is actually, behind that serious face, someone with a very lively sense of humor.

“She can be very lively and enjoy banana peel or whatever. “

A young queen eating an orange with President Tito during her visit to Belgrade in 1972
A young queen eating an orange with President Tito during her visit to Belgrade in 1972

She later combines her public role with her private passion for country life as footage shows her riding with President Reagan.

Far from the public eye, it is clear that the Queen is a country girl at heart.

“She is a natural peasant. He’s happier in the country than in the city, ”says Charles Anson.

It certainly shows through his love of animals, including horses and his beloved corgis, which cause a nuisance when protection officers have to persuade them to get out of a car and get on a plane.

There are images of the Queen experiencing the freedom to ride and the joy of seeing her horses winning at races.

Describing watching the Queen win a Tesco voucher at an equestrian event, TV presenter Clare Balding said: “There is a very innocent, charming and childlike joy in winning a rosette or a 50 pound Tesco voucher. , which happened a few years ago.

“And honestly, you would have thought the Queen had won the lottery!” “

The Queen at Windsor Castle in 1992 with a cow called Elizabeth
The Queen at Windsor Castle in 1992 with a cow called Elizabeth

The Queen’s passion for country life even extends to farming and she has formed a beautiful private friendship with a New Zealand farmer.

The Queen met farmer Don Ferguson in 1975 and remained friends with him until his death in 2017 – with the couple sharing ownership of some cows.

A snapshot shows the Queen standing with a cow named Elizabeth in her honor at Windsor Castle in 1992.

Showcasing some of the cows the Queen owns, Don’s son Warren says, “When we went to a show, if we won or took one of these cows, dad would call the Queen and tell her what she had. won or what we had won.

“Dad loved farming. He loved his cattle and his family from top to bottom, and I think that probably held him in place of his friendship with the Queen. “

Don’s wife June adds, “They just seemed to get along well. When the Queen was once in the paddock with him and – because Phillip swears like a soldier – the Queen said to Don: ‘What? All husbands swear, don’t they?

“I don’t know what Don replied. Because, Don, he never swore! “

A young queen films with a Cine camera in a private home, as a guest of the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Willoughby Norrie (not shown) on Christmas Day 1953
A young queen films with a Cine camera in a private home, as a guest of the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Willoughby Norrie (not shown) on Christmas Day 1953

There’s also a look at the Queen’s shyness and how her true personality is often hidden from the public.

“The Queen is by nature quite a shy person. His temperament and personality are rather reserved and hold back slightly, ”says Charles Anson.

The film also explains how the Queen managed to balance the public and the private, preserving the dignity of the monarchy while also revealing more of her private personality at key moments such as Diana’s death.

Now that she has reduced her duties to 95, her private life has finally more time; time spent enjoying the company of his family.

Charles Anson describes how important family is to the Queen, saying: “It has been a pleasure for the Queen and Prince Philip to be able to enjoy their grandchildren, to have time to enjoy their grandchildren. children in recent years; more. “

Summing up at the end, Lady Glenconner said, “I feel she has been the most wonderful queen. She didn’t disappoint us at all and, you know, she brought everyone together, she’s a figurehead. I feel so proud to be like my queen.

* The Queen Unseen airs tonight on ITV at 9 p.m.

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