Buckingham Palace is defending Queen Elizabeth II after The Sun published footage of the royal performing the Nazi salute as a child in 1933.
“It is disappointing that a film, shot eight decades ago and apparently from HM’s personal family archive, has been obtained and exploited in this manner,” Buckingham Palace tells Us Weekly in a statement.
The UK newspaper published the black and white images on its front page on Saturday, July 18, with the headline: “Their Royal Heilnesses.”
The photos are from a home movie, which was filmed outside. Queen Elizabeth II, 89 — around 6 years old at the time — was joined by her mother Queen Elizabeth, her uncle Edward VIII, and sister Princess Margaret. According to The Telegraph, Queen Elizabeth II allegedly saluted like Adolf Hitler three times. (Prince Harry also caused a stir in January 2005 when he wore a Nazi outfit with a red and black swastika armband at a friend’s costume party.)
“Most people will see these pictures in their proper context and time. This is a family playing and momentarily referencing a gesture many would have seen from contemporary news reels,” a royal source told The Telegraph. “If you watch the film it is people laughing and joking around and playing, and it was one of the things of the day. No one at that time had any sense how it would evolve. To imply anything else is misleading and dishonest.”
The Sun, meanwhile, is defending its decision to run the personal family photos, specifically calling out Edward VIII. “The man who briefly became our King was already a fan of Hitler — and remained so as late as 1970, long after the Holocaust’s horrors were laid bare,” the editorial stated.
The newspaper’s story comes just three weeks after Queen Elizabeth II and her husband, Prince Philip, paid tribute to victims at the Nazis’ Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in Germany.
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