In a video recently obtained and published by British tabloid The Sun, the 7-year-old Princess Elizabeth, who would later be crowned Queen Elizabeth II, is seen to give the Nazi salute. Elizabeth is the middle-sized child in the screenshot above.
According to The Sun, Elizabeth’s uncle Edward—then Prince of Wales, later King Edward VIII—was a Nazi sympathizer. Edward is seen to encourage the children to raise their arms in the salute. The video, thought to have been taken around 1933 or 1934, can be seen in full here.
In a statement, Buckingham palace said that it was disappointed the film had been published and raised questions over how it had been obtained at all, The Guardian reports. The film apparently came from the queen’s personal family archive.
“We are not using it to suggest any impropriety on behalf of them,” Sun managing editor Stig Abell told the BBC, referring to the queen—a child, at the time—and her mother, who is also seen to give the salute. “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.
“That must be a matter of national and public interest to discuss. And I think this video and this footage animates that very clearly,” Abell said. “I think this is a piece of social history. One of the most significant events in our country’s history, the Second World War, the rise of Nazism, one of the most pernicious movements in human history, and I think one is entitled to have a look at some of the background to it.”
“We’re very clear. We’re of course not suggesting anything improper on behalf of the Queen or the Queen Mum.”