A new documentary is to explore how the Queen’s role as a driver and mechanic during World War II contributed to the formation of teenage princess Elizabeth as the country’s longest-reigning prince.
Our Queen At War, which airs tomorrow at 9 p.m. on ITV 1, will tell the story of what she called “the terrible and glorious years of World War II” forged her character for years.
Interviews with a childhood friend, people who shared her experiences and royal experts will examine how the Queen had to endure great pressure in her early years.
It comes when Her Majesty turns 94 today when she marks the occasion away from her family because of the blockage of the coronavirus. They is with her 72-year-old husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.
From the demands of radio broadcast to the British Empire and the shock of a V-1 bomb, to the first female member of the royal family to serve in the armed forces, Princess Elizabeth had to grow up quickly.
As the UK prepares for the 75th anniversary of VE Day in May, the 60-minute documentary also details how the Queen met the man she would later marry, Phillip Mountbatten, at just 13 years old.
As a young woman, the Queen became the first female member of the Royal Family to become a full-time active member of the Armed Forces when she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1945 (she is shown performing technical repair work during her WWII military service 1944). She achieved the rank of Junior Commander after completing her training at the ATS’s No. 1 Mechanical Training Center and passed out as a fully qualified driver. When the Women’s Royal Army Corps (WRAC) was founded in 1949 as a successor to the ATS, she became Honorary Senior Controller and later Honorary Brigadier. She resigned from her position as queen in 1953
Princess Elizabeth talks to her father, King George VI, as he walks through the royal frames on April 11, 1942, in a study in Windsor Castle, Berkshire. Elizabeth follows her father George to the throne. Known as the ‘reluctant king’, George was crowned after the abdication of his brother Edward VIII. His coronation was held at Westminster Abbey in May 1937. A month after George’s coronation, Edward VIII married American divorced socialist Wallis Simpson at the Château de Candé in Monts, France. Four months after their marriage, the couple visited Nazi Germany as guests of Adolf Hitler. Meanwhile, King George’s popularity as a wartime monarch increased and he became a figure of stability, despite previously being marred by his speech impediment and reputation for being unprepared. Blessing for his reputation was helped by his decision to stay in London while the Blitz bombs rained on the capital. George died of ill health in 1952, leaving his daughter Elizabeth, 25, to take over the role of Queen during a period when she became Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.
It was at Windsor Castle – in 1940, at the height of the Blitz – where 14-year-old Princess Elizabeth gave her first ever public speech – to the British evacuees of children. Some 75 years after the end of World War II, a new documentary will draw from interviews with a childhood friend, people who shared her experiences and royal experts to explore what the Queen called ‘the terrible and glorious years of World War II’ , transformed her from a teenage princess to the longest-serving monarch in the country (she is depicted next to Princess Margaret during her 1940 war speech)
The Queen’s relationship with the Armed Forces began when, as Princess Elizabeth, she joined the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) in 1945 and became the first female member of the Royal Family to join the Armed Forces as a full-time member (she is shown next to an army ambulance during World War II). During her time in the ATS, the princess learned to drive and maintain vehicles. Since then, the Queen has maintained a close relationship with the armed forces through regular visits to service facilities and ships. She has many military appointments and honorary members
Unlike many of her peers who were evacuated abroad, Elizabeth stayed in Britain.
She was prepared for the throne by studying the British Constitution at Eton College while setting up fundraising pantomimes at Windsor Castle and concerned about the safety of her parents who remained at Buckingham Palace.
By the age of 16, Princess Elizabeth inspected the troops and launched ships while living in a secret location and keeping up with the developments in the war by watching weekly news reports.
At the age of 18, the princess joined the women’s arm of the British Army, the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), becoming the first female member of the royal family to serve in the armed forces.
The Queen Mother and Princess Margaret stood near a tree on the grounds of Windsor Castle in England on July 8, 1941. Elizabeth and Margaret were often photographed in matching outfits, sometimes even with their hair styled the same way. They also donned a costume together and wore exotic coats while ‘dressed for Aladdin’ in 1943
Collected by a friend of the Queen, photos show how traditional pantomimes were an integral part of the war parties at Windsor Castle. Of course, the shows were not your average am-dram productions. Starring the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth and younger sister Princess Margaret, music was provided by The Royal Horse Guards Salon Orchestra (photo, Queen Elizabeth II (as Princess Elizabeth), Princess Margaret (right) and two other cast members tea party scene in a production of ‘Aladdin’ in Windsor Castle, Berkshire). In 1942 the show was Sleeping Beauty with the young queen as Prince Salvador and Margaret Fairy Thistledown. The following year saw a production of Aladdin starring Princess Elizabeth and her sister as Princess Roxana. The last show in 1944 was Old Mother Red Riding Boots with the young queen as Lady Christina Sherwood and Margaret as the Honorable Lucinda Fairfax
The four royal pantos were staged during the war after the future queen and her younger sister were evacuated from Buckingham Palace during the conflict (depicted Elizabeth and Margaret during Aladdin in 1943). The couple stayed at the Royal Lodge, in Windsor, until 1945. Their parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, stayed in London during the week and returned to them on weekends. The idea of putting on a panto arose after the two young princesses appeared in a concert with children from the Royal School to support the war. The show’s funds went to the Royal Household Wool Fund, which provided comfort to the troops. It was Princess Margaret who first proposed a panto and headmaster Hubert Tannar was invited to write the script and produce the first show in December 1941
Today, no one would expect the 86-year-old monarch to get her hands dirty at Camp Bastion – but there was a time when she donned her fatigues and mucked next to her future subjects. Princess Elizabeth’s puberty took place in the shadow of World War II, and with the country in crisis she did not shy away from her royal duties. Her first solo public performance came at the age of 16, with a visit to the Grenadier Guards. She had already been appointed Colonel-in-Chief of the regiment – in fact the link between the infantrymen and the royal family. And by 18 years of age, the change in law allowed her to act as a state adviser, meaning she would be one of five royals to occupy the fort if her father went abroad or became incapacitated for work. Shortly thereafter, in February 1945, she enrolled in the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service and was assigned service number 230873. She joined as an honorary second subaltern, but must have impressed her duties as a driver and mechanic as she went to the rank of honorary commander within five months
Unlike many of her peers who were evacuated abroad, Elizabeth stayed in Britain. She was prepared for the throne by studying the British Constitution at Eton College while setting up fundraising pantomimes at Windsor Castle and concerned about the safety of her parents who remained at Buckingham Palace. By the age of 16, Princess Elizabeth inspected the troops and launched ships while living in a secret location and keeping up with the developments in the war by watching weekly news reports. At the age of 18, the princess joined the women’s arm of the British Army, the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS), becoming the first female member of the royal family to serve in the armed forces (she is depicted while she is attached to her office in Windsor studying) Castle on June 22, 1940)
Royal biographer Jane Dismore says, “The war gave Princess Elizabeth a humanity that she might have taken longer to discover that she had much in common with ordinary people because she saw their suffering, she knew about it. She knew that people looked at her as that new generation, that new generation of hope. ‘
When war ended, on VE day in May 1945, she mingled incognito with the crowd outside Buckingham Palace in her ATS uniform – seven years before taking the throne.
Ingrid Stewart, editor-in-chief of Majesty magazine, says, “She actually described it as the most exciting night of her life.”
With the help of rare archives – including home movie footage – Our Queen at War tells how Queen Elizabeth II’s government was forged by the events of World War II.
The new documentary explores how the queen – yet to be crowned a British monarch – was shaped by the events of World War II (she imagined Margaret speaking to evacuees in October 1940). Using interviews with a childhood friend, people who shared her experiences, and royal experts, this program examines how the war turned a teenage princess into the longest-reigning monarch in the country. The program marks 75 years after the end of the war and describes how from the moment she met her now husband Philip at 1pm, the demands of making a radio broadcast to the empire, experiencing the terror of a V -1 bomb, Princess Elizabeth had to grow up quickly
Royal Governess Marion Crawford (‘Crawfie’) accompanies Princesses Elizabeth (later Queen Elizabeth II, center) and Margaret (left) to the headquarters of the YWCA (Young Women’s Christian Association), at Tottenham Court Road, London, on May 15, 1939 The princesses have just made their first ride on the London Underground
Princess Elizabeth is depicted among a syringa bush in the grounds of Windsor Castle. Tomorrow a new documentary tells her life during the war. It comes when the queen celebrates her birthday today. She is with her 72-year-old husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle in Berkshire with a diminished household for their protection. Like the rest of the country, the royals stay away from each other as they follow social distance rules amid the coronavirus pandemic. Family members are expected to make private and video calls to the Queen to deliver their birthday messages
De koningin is afgebeeld tijdens een productie van Aladdin in Windsor Castle tijdens de oorlog. Het is opmerkelijk dat de toekomstige koningin een mannelijke rol speelde in drie van de vier producties, terwijl haar jongere zus Margaret altijd een vrouwelijke rol kreeg. Onze Queen At War, die morgen om 21.00 uur wordt uitgezonden op ITV 1, zal het verhaal vertellen over hoe wat zij ‘de verschrikkelijke en glorieuze jaren van de Tweede Wereldoorlog’ noemde, haar personage jarenlang smeedde. Het bevat details van de uitvoeringen in Windsor Castle
Tom Giles, Controller of Current Affairs, ITV zei: ‘De koningin is niet alleen onze langst regerende vorst, ze is een belangrijk embleem van Groot-Brittannië, dat ons over de hele wereld kan vertegenwoordigen en zoals we onlangs hebben gezien, om leiderschap en geruststelling te bieden in tijden van crisis.
‘Deze documentaire geeft een actueel en levendig inzicht in die sleuteljaren van haar leven toen ze zich ontwikkelde tot monarch.’
Chris Granlund, uitvoerend producent van BBC Studios, die de opdracht kreeg om het programma te maken, voegde toe: ‘Our Queen at War met zijn opmerkzame interviews en buitengewoon archiefmateriaal – veelal in kleur – belooft een fascinerend inzicht te bieden in het leven van HRH The Queen tijdens die invloedrijke oorlogsjaren en tijdens zo’n belangrijk hoofdstuk van de Britse geschiedenis. ‘
Dit is de tweede opdracht van BBC Studios Production van ITV, na Prince Charles: Inside the Duchy of Cornwall, die afgelopen herfst werd uitgezonden en een geconsolideerd publiek van 3 miljoen bereikte.