Elizabeth, 96, is seen as a baby pushed in a stroller by her mother and later playing with her father, King George VI, in Windsor as she falls off a chair in the garden. In another clip, she wades through lochs near Balmoral with her sister, Margaret, and a corgi. The film also shows the young princess staring lovingly at her engagement ring shortly after Prince Philip proposed.
“Cameras have always been a part of our lives,” Elizabeth says in a message recorded at Windsor Castle for the 75-minute BBC film “Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen.”
“Like many families, my parents wanted to keep a record of our precious moments together. And when it was our turn with our own family, we did the same, ”she told the BBC.
“I always enjoyed capturing family moments,” the monarch continues. “Private photos can often show the fun behind the formality.”
Elizabeth has made fewer public appearances in recent months, with health problems ranging from a sprained back to a covid episode. An overnight stay in a hospital last year also prompted serious concerns about the nonagenarian’s health. She has since made a number of virtual appearances and has been seen in public using a cane, with Buckingham Palace citing sporadic “mobility issues.”
Earlier in May, she missed the opening of Parliament, one of the most important dates on the royal calendar, leaving her son and heir, Prince Charles, to stand in.
However, ahead of her Platinum Jubilee celebrations, the monarch has attended a royal horse show, where she cheerily smiled and waved to the crowd before she was given a standing ovation. Elizabeth also made an appearance for the opening of London’s newest subway line, which is named after her and aims to transform the city for commuters and visitors.
The Platinum Jubilee celebrations will take place over four days starting Thursday, and Union Jack flags and bunting already adorn train stations and parks as people rush to buy memorabilia for the impending pomp. Thousands are expected to flock to Buckingham Palace to watch parades and a concert while trying to catch a glimpse of the monarch and her family on the balcony.
The BBC film will be shown in the United Kingdom this weekend, but it’s unclear whether it will be shown later in the United States.
“The production team were under no illusion quite how special having access to this very personal archive was,” said Claire Popplewell, creative director for BBC Studios Events Productions, according to the broadcaster. “Allowing the Queen to tell us her own story is the very heart of this film.”
In the documentary, Elizabeth reflects on the photos and footage: “You always hope that future generations will find them interesting, and perhaps be surprised that you were too young once.”
Karla Adam contributed to this report.