Home movies filmed by Queen Elizabeth are to be released for the first time Friday, giving a glimpse of life behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace and showing a softer side of Britain’s royal family.
The informal footage will be screened on Friday evening as part of a tribute documentary made by the monarch’s eldest son Prince Charles to mark her diamond jubilee.
The heir to the throne recalls in the BBC TV programme how his mother, now 86, wore the crown at home ahead of her coronation in 1953 to get accustomed to its weight.
“I remember my mama coming up, when we were being bathed as children, wearing the crown — it was quite funny — practising.”
Film clips, many filmed by the queen herself or her husband Prince Philip, include one of the sovereign returning from her coronation 60 years ago.
She poses for official photographs in between tending to her children, while in the commentary, Prince Charles comments on her “amazing poise”.
Footage from 1957 shows Charles and his sister Princess Anne at the beach in Norfolk, eastern England, buried up to their necks in sand while a corgi, the queen’s signature breed of dog, sits between them.
More clips show the two young royals — who were later to be joined by princes Edward and Andrew — leaping around on sand dunes with their father.
Film from within a year of Charles’s birth in 1948 shows his mother tickling him and helping him to learn to walk, belying the image of stiffness and formality sometimes attached to the older generations of the royal family.
“My mama takes great pride in her family, from being a young mother at the start of her reign, to now being a great-grandmother twice over,” Charles says in the film.
But he also pays tribute to her public role.
“The fact that my mama has been a constant feature on the scene has provided that sense, I think, of continuity in a time of immense change over 60 years,” the prince says.
The release comes ahead of four days of celebrations for the diamond jubilee, including a flotilla of more than 1,000 boats on the Thames on Sunday.
Leaders of the main political parties paid tribute to the queen Friday, while Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan
Williams recorded a video in which he says: “I hadn’t had any contact at all with royalty before coming into this job.
“I didn’t know what to expect, really. I found in the queen someone who can be friendly, who can be informal, who can be extremely funny in private — and not everybody appreciates just how funny she can be. …
“I think we’ve been enormously fortunate in this country to have, as our head of state, a person who has a real personality.”
[Britain's Prince Charles (L) and Princess Anne, the Princess Royal playing in the sand with a corgi at Holkham Beach in Norfolk in the summer of 1957, in a picture released by Buckingham Palace on June 1. AFP Photo]