The Queen may be the most famous woman in the world, but she still remains an enigma.
However, candid never-before-seen footage of Her Majesty lifts the kingship from the mask to show who she really is as a wife, mother, animal lover, cook, farmer and actress in new ITV documentary The Queen Unseen.
Usually a very private woman, the unseen home movies and recently digitized ‘lost’ material from some of the 116 countries she has visited reveal the real Elizabeth Windsor in rare moments of rest.
Amateur footage of the New Zealand tour, of the Queen on the Royal Train, has not been shown for almost 70 years and much of it has never been seen in the UK.
In 1953, the Queen went on a tour of the Commonwealth with the Duke of Edinburgh, which took her away from home and her young children for six months and she requested that her travels be filmed so that she can show them to Prince Charles and the Princess. Anne on her return
Other unseen archives provide a glimpse of her early attempts to perfect her public personality, having to smile even when she feels exhausted.
In a rare and unseen private film, we get a glimpse of the young queen on leave.
Taking a short break from the grueling tour, the royal couple stayed with New Zealand Governor General Sir Willougby Norrie, whose wife filmed the Christmas visit.
Her daughter Sarah Stephenson, was 10 at the time and remembers the excitement of the Queen’s stay.
“There were a lot of gifts for Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who were very young and were at home in England, so it must have been very difficult for the Queen and the Duke to leave their children behind for such a long time. trip, ”she said. said.
“There was a time when my sister and I would take our dogs for a walk, and the Queen said she wished she could come with us.”
Sarah shares private footage of the Queen joining the family at the outdoor pool, as the Duke of Edinburgh struggles to climb a lilo in the water.
Back in England, the Queen found her public figure under close scrutiny and was criticized in a magazine article by a Tory peer who described her as a ‘priggish schoolgirl’.
But around the same time as this article, the Queen was on vacation in the Scottish Isles, and other home movie footage shows her relaxing and cooking for her friends on a barbecue.
Royal biographer Robert Hardman says: “There was no date, she could get up whenever she wanted, wear what she liked, the whole family was there and it just wasn’t happening anywhere else. . “
Lady Glenconner, who was a bridesmaid at her coronation, sees the footage for the first time.
She is moved when she sees her own mother at the movies, vacationing with the royal party in the 1950s, and building sandcastles with Princess Anne.
The film sheds new light on the Queen’s relationship with her eldest children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne, with resting footage showing a warm relationship.
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However, her public role as queen created the impression of a cold parent.
There are also snaps from the Queen and Prince Philip’s Canadian tour in 1951 – showing the couple taking a traditional sleigh ride.
Shot in color for a film called Royal Journey – it was the first color feature film made in Canada. The rushes had to be airlifted to New York to be developed.
The young queen can also be seen spending time with the horses while wearing her balaclava to protect her from the blizzard.
Another recently discovered film reel shows seven-year-old Queen Elizabeth II playing in the grounds of the Royal Lodge in Windsor.
Having fun with her parents and sister, he reveals the loving family life she had before Edward VIII’s abdication.
Lady Glenconner says: “It’s lovely. The king looks so happy … I guess he wasn’t king at the time. He pretends to cut Princess Elizabeth’s hair with his scissors. . They are so natural and happy. “
The Queen Unseen looks back on her pregnancy with her third child, Prince Andrew, and then her youngest son, Prince Edward.
We see a photo of the Queen with seven-month-old Prince Andrew in some of the first color photos taken of the young prince.
There are also talks about how the Queen has changed her parenting style with her two youngest children.
She rearranged plans and meetings to spend more time with them and be able to sleep them.
Royal biographer Jane Ridley says: “When Edward was born, the Queen did things like change the time of her regular weekly Tuesday meeting with the Prime Minister, so that she had time to go play with the babies and to put them to bed “.
As the boys got older, the Queen and Prince Philip allowed more photocalls as a family and even allowed TV cameras to enter their home.
In contrast to her private life in the countryside, the film uses never-before-seen footage to explore the Queen’s success on the world stage, including never-before-seen archives of the strongest of the Cold War. The Queen became the first monarch to visit a Communist country when she met President Tito in Belgrade in 1972. The Queen is seen relaxing with the President as she eats an orange he is plucking from a tree (a rare moment as the Queen rarely eats in public) and she laughs, displaying a captivating smile as Tito himself drives her in a bizarre golf buggy.
Charles Anson remarks on his humor, saying: “There is actually, behind that serious demeanor, someone with a very keen sense of humor. She can be very lively and enjoy banana peel or whatever.
She later combines her public role with her private passion for country life, as footage shows her riding with President Reagan.
Featuring interviews and personal stories from those who know and worked with HM The Queen, this documentary explores a very different side of The Queen.
With further contributions from those who know her including Lady Anne Glenconner, who was a maid of honor at her coronation and Charles Anson, who was Her Majesty’s Press Secretary from 1990 to 1997, as well as royal photographer Arthur Edwards , who has watched her for decades and has taken some of the most iconic photos of her in recent times.
Together, they reveal behind-the-scenes stories about her true character, her shyness, love of the country life, and her relationship with her family.
Charles Anson describes the Queen’s true personality: “The Queen is by nature quite a shy person. His temper and personality are on the side of being reserved and lightly restraining himself.
The Queen’s coronation, which made her the most famous woman in the world, was televised to vast audiences worldwide.
But her anointing, by the time she became Queen Elizabeth II, was so sacred that it was hidden away and could not be filmed.
From that moment on, the woman her subjects had grown to love changed. The crown has become a mask. The gap between public and private is so complete that she even has two birthdays.
A leading body language expert analyzes images recounting her struggle to balance being a monarch and a mother, and leading lip readers breathe new life into the iconic archive on Coronation’s Balcony.
* The Queen Unseen airs tonight on ITV at 9 p.m.