London newspaper, The Sun, has sparked a great deal of controversy after releasing footage of Queen Elizabeth II doing the Nazi salute as a young girl.
Buckingham Palace criticized the newspaper for publishing the footage, saying it was a private family film.
“It is disappointing that film, shot eight decades ago and apparently from (Her Majesty’s) personal family archive, has been obtained an exploited in this manner,” a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.
The footage shot appears to be of the then 6-year-old Queen playing with her family, in 1933, when Adolf Hitler had just risen to power in Germany.
The Sun, Britain’s best-selling tabloid newspaper, printed a still image from the video in their print paper. Elizabeth appears in the still, next to her mother, her then 3-year-old sister Princess Margaret, and her uncle (Edward VIII). The headline printed with the photo read, “Their Royal Heilnesses.”
The magazine also printed a caption on the cover, claiming Edward VIII was “teaching this Nazi salute to the Queen.” The video supposedly shows him encouraging his nieces to do the salute before joining them himself. The Sun refers to him as “Nazi-sympathizing.”
“While there is clearly no suggestion that the Queen or Queen Mother were even Nazi sympathizers, Edward’s links with Hitler and fascism are very well documented, states the article.
The article also includes a quote from a Institute of Historical Research historian, Dr. Karina Urbach, stating that the video is “an important historical document that asks serious questions of the Royal Family.”
In 1937, Edward would leave England and meet Hitler in Germany, a year after abdicating the throne in order to marry American divorcee Wallis Simpson. This is ultimately what led to Elizabeth’s father to become King George VI.
According to Dr. Urbach’s research, Edward VIII wanted Britain to be bombed into an alliance with the Third Reich and blamed “Jews and Reds” for World War II.
It appears that in this research, Dr. Urbach discovered that the royal family may have closer ties to the Nazis than they would like to reveal. It seems that the royal archives are kept securely closed.
“The Royal Archives have always ensured that letters from German relatives of the royal family in the run up to World War II remain closed. Naturally, such censorship has led to endless conspiracy theories,” Urbach wrote. “Intelligence reports and German, Spanish, and Russian documents show members of the British royal family were indeed far closer to Nazi Germany than has previously been recognized.”
The Sun does not provide the source where they obtained the footage from, and it’s not clear as to who was taping the 17-second video.
Despite Birmingham Palace being troubled over the release and the unclear way that The Sun obtained the footage, the gossip magazine defends their decision to release the photo.
“These images have lain hidden for 82 years. We publish them today, knowing they do not reflect badly on our Queen, her late sister or mother in any way,” the tabloid wrote in a separate published explanation. “They do, however, provide a fascinating insight into the warped prejudices of Edward VIII and his friends in that bleak, paranoid, tumultuous decade.”
Queen Elizabeth II paid her first visit to Germany in June, with her husband Prince Phillip. The two went to the site of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp, which was liberated by Britain about 70 years ago. This is also the camp where the infamous Anne Frank died.
Here is the full footage that The Sun released: