The Queen’s home movies showing her as a young mother were screened for her yesterday as it was announced that the films and others are to be digitised for posterity.
Moving images of the Prince of Wales as a baby being played with by his grandparents, George VI and Queen Elizabeth, and footage of him as a small boy learning to ride were featured during the Queen’s visit to the British Film Institute (BFI) Southbank in central London.
In the colour film shot in 1949 by the Duke of Edinburgh the royal baby is held by Queen Elizabeth and in another scene the King gently flicks his right ear to get his attention.
The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, is also seen in the footage before a clip from 1952 was played showing young Charles learning to ride on a white pony with the Princess Royal as a toddler walking into shot.
BFI chairman Greg Dyke hosted the Queen’s visit and, speaking about the royal home movies, said: “It was moving, it was no different from looking at pictures of your own kids.
“We’ve got the whole collection – we look after it for the Royal Family – some of which has never been seen, they are very personal films.
“A lot of it was shot by the Duke of Edinburgh with a movie camera in the early ’50s and in the next year or so we will be digitising it.
“I think she was very interested to see this film of her children, of her life as a young mother. She seemed to enjoy it.”
The BFI will be working with the BBC to digitise the footage it has looked after for the Royal Collection since the late 1960s. It includes newsreels and private family films which date back more than 90 years to the 1920s.
Longstanding BFI supporter Jonathan Ross introduced the royal clips, including the first film to feature a British monarch – Queen Victoria in a carriage at Balmoral with Tsar Alexander II also in the shot from 1896.
A montage of scenes from well-known British films was also played for the Queen, from Peter O’Toole in David Lean’s Lawrence Of Arabia to Barbara Windsor’s bra flying off in Carry On Camping.
Ross met the Queen briefly during her visit and said afterwards that he had mentioned her home movie. “I asked her did she remember it being filmed and she said, ‘No, not at all’.
“I doubt it wasn’t important to her, she’s spent her whole life being filmed. I think she rarely goes out without seeing a camera.”