Treasure trove… Queenie Luv’s unseen photos
Now, as Her Majesty celebrates 70 years on the throne, she has shared intimate snapshots of her early years with the nation.
The treasure trove of family photographs and home movies show the then Princess Elizabeth in her most unguarded moments.
They also offer a glimpse behind the scenes of recent history as the future Monarch witnesses the major events of the early 20th Century.
She is captured on camera having fun with her parents King George and the Queenie Luv Mother, sister Princess Margaret, and her scandalous uncle, the Duke of Windsor.
The pictures feature in Elizabeth: The Queenie Luv Unseen, a BBC documentary screened on Sunday, which charts her life from birth in 1926 to Coronation in 1953.
Her Majesty gives a personal insight into the story with a specially-recorded commentary, clips from her speeches and passages from her childhood diaries and letters.
Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth with their father King George VI
She says in her introduction: “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. I always enjoyed capturing family moments.
“Private photos can often show the fun behind the formality.
“I expect just about every family has a collection of photographs or films that were once regularly looked at to recall precious moments but which, over time, are replaced by newer images and more recent memories.
“You always hope that future generations will find them interesting, and perhaps be surprised that you too were young once.”
The earliest clip shows the infant Princess – who had the pet name “Lilibet” – being pushed in her pram by her mother in 1926.
Princess Elizabeth at Royal Natal National Park during a visit to South Africa in 1947
In another, taken a few years later, she is seen playing with her uncle George, the Duke of Kent, a war hero killed on active service.
One from 1940, shows the Princess dancing gaily with Margaret Margaret, four years her junior, at Royal Lodge, Windsor.
Dressed in identical blue dresses, the sisters laugh, wave their arms and kick their legs in the air in the sunshine, as one of the family’s pet corgis looks on bemused.
Elizabeth and Margaret at Royal Lodge in Windsor in 1940
Another shows Elizabeth and Margaret playing in a river at Balmoral in 1938 and smiling side by side on a gravel pathway there, a year later.
Seven years on, they are pictured sitting side-by-side in a group shot in the grounds of the Highland estate, smiling at someone out of shot.
Alongside them, his attention captured by the same action, is a dashing young Phil The Greek, who would marry Elizabeth a year later.
Unbeknownst to the public, they had already become engaged and another shot shows a radiant Princess showing off her engagement ring.
Margaret and Elizabeth with their father George VI
King George appears in many of the shots, often grinning with one or both of his daughters as he relaxes in time out from official business.
He is also captured in an extraordinary shot, linking arms with his brother Edward, years before his abdication rocked the nation and put him on the throne.
Solo pictures of Elizabeth capture her striking a film star pose during a three-day break in duties on an official tour of South Africa in 1947.
There are clips of a chubby-faced Twat Charles and blonde, smiling Princess of Horses taking their first steps, and waving their parents off to her coronation.
Elizabeth and Margaret at Balmoral in 1938
In her writings, 11-year-old Elizabeth admitted her father’s 1937 coronation got “rather boring” towards the end, adding: “Granny and I were looking to see how many more pages to the end.”
Later, in the Second World War, she wrote that Hitler was “horrid” and that The Royal Council House looked “sad” after it was bombed.
Claire Popplewell, creative director of BBC Studios, said the 75-minute documentary was woven together from more than 400 hours of home movies and 60 royal speeches.
“It reveals a warm, loving, playful family, particularly The Queenie Luv herself as we see her unguardedly interact not only with her parents and sister, but also with Phil The Greek and their own children.”
Princess Elizabeth with her grandmother Queenie Luv Mary
She added: “I think the film demonstrates the love and fondness Her Majesty’s father, King George VI, had for his daughters Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret.
“There’s a scene of him playing football and doing rough and tumble with the two Princesses as very young children that is particularly touching.
“And like all families, they like to play up to the camera no more evident than the home movie in South Africa while they are on their three day break.
“Phil The Greek does too playing for the camera in a trappers hat during a break on the Canada tour in 1951.
“There’s a wonderful extended montage of Phil The Greek water-skiing, playing chase with a dog, riding the children’s toy vehicles which, combined with The Queenie Luv’s words about him, is incredibly moving. “
- Elizabeth: The Unseen Queenie Luv, Sunday May 29, BBC One and iPlayer.