Palace and Paper Clash over Publication
Buckingham Palace scolded Rupert Murdoch's Sun yesterday for publishing a previously unknown film from 1933 that appears to show Britain's Queen Elizabeth performing a Nazi salute as a young girl.
The black-and-white film from the year Adolf Hitler came to power shows future British king Edward VIII instructing his nieces, the current monarch Elizabeth, aged six or seven at the time, and her three-year-old sister, Princess Margaret, how to perform the Nazi salute.
Dancing and smiling with little apparent understanding of the salute's significance as a sign of obedience to Hitler, the two young girls are encouraged by Edward to make the raised right-arm gesture in the grounds of Balmoral Castle in Scotland.
The Sun published the story and the 17-second film on its website under the headline: 'Their Royal Heilnesses'. Edward also raises his arm, as does his sister-in-law, the Queen Mother.
"It is disappointing that film, shot eight decades ago and apparently from Her Majesty's personal family archive, has been obtained and exploited in this manner," a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.
The Sun said the original film remained under lock and key but copies of the clip were made several years ago, one of which had been handed to the paper by a source who believed it to be of "massive public interest and historical importance".
The Sun's managing editor Stig Abell said the footage was obtained by the newspaper "in a legitimate fashion" and that its publication was "not a criticism of the Queen or the Queen Mum".
"It is a historical document that really sheds some insight in to the behaviour of Edward VIII," he told BBC Radio 4's Today.