Buckingham Palace has slammed the Sun newspaper for publishing footage of the Queen footage giving a Nazi salute when she was seven years old, saying it had been “obtained and exploited” from the Queen’s personal archive.
The 17-second-long footage from 1933 or 1934 obtained by The Sun shows a seven-year-old Queen in the gardens of Scotland’s Balmoral Castle giving a Nazi salute towards her mother and uncle Prince Edward.
The Sun has rejected claims that it was “exploiting” the footage and did not reveal the source of the “important and interesting” story.
A source from the Queen’s residence, Buckingham Palace told the BBC that “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 newsreels.”
The same source added that judging 82 year old events with today’s perspective would be anachronistic, and said that "no one at that time had any sense how it would evolve. To imply anything else is misleading and dishonest."
The same source went on to say "the Queen and her family's service and dedication to the welfare of this nation during the war, and the 63 years the Queen has spent building relations between nations and peoples speaks for itself."
Former Buckingham Palace press secretary Dickie Arbiter said that how the 82-year-old video footage was acquired would be investigated.
Arbiter said that "they'll be wondering whether it was in fact something that was held in the Royal Archives at Windsor, or whether it was being held by the Duke of Windsor's estate. And if it was the Duke of Windsor's estate, then somebody has clearly taken it from the estate and here it is, 82 years later.”
Managing editor of The Sun Stig Abell emphasised the historical importance of the footage with relation to Prince Edward, a Nazi sympathiser who was forced to abdicate in favor of his younger brother George, saying "we are not using it to suggest any impropriety on behalf of [the royal family]. But it is an important and interesting issue, the extent to which the British aristocracy - notably Edward VIII, in this case - in the 1930s, were sympathetic towards fascism.”
Abell added, "that must be a matter of national and public interest to discuss. And I think this video and this footage animates that very clearly."
The 89-year-old Queen Elizabeth II visited Germany in June and visited the former Nazi death camp Bergen-Belsen.