It seems Queen Elizabeth II has helped Britons forget that their reigning "House of Windsor" is German
Oh, the horror! Is it any wonder that this photo "has sparked a furore in Britain"? It's terrifying! It's . . . . Oh wait, it's not this photo of Queen Elizabeth that's sparked the furore.
It's an understandable mistake, isn't it? I mean, Queen Elizabeth smiling? Aren't we more used to seeing the queen grumping and grouching, looking as is she'd like to slam whichever kitschy little handbag she's toting into the cranium of whoever's been presumptuous enough to approach her grumpy and grouchy royal self?
But no, this isn't the image that's sparked the furore. It's this one, thoughtfully shared by The Sun:
The young princesses' Uncle Edward would become better known to us as the genetically male half of 20th-century Britain's most hilarious comedy drag act, "The Duke and Duchess of Windsor." (Yes, he's that Edward!)
Secret 1933 film shows Edward VIII teaching this Nazi salute to the Queen
THE Queen and Queen Mum raise a Nazi salute in an astonishing home movie shot at Balmoral and seen today for the first time.
The film shows the then Princess Elizabeth, just seven, larking about in 1933.
Egging on her sister Princess Margaret, three, is their uncle Prince Edward, Prince of Wales. He was a sympathiser towards Hitler’s Nazi Germany and became King Edward VIII.
The stunning film footage of the Queen performing a Nazi salute is today revealed by The Sun.
The astonishing clip lay hidden for eight decades. The grainy home movie is thought to have been shot in 1933 or 1934, as Hitler rose to supreme power in Germany.
The 20-second cine film reveals Edward, who once gave a Nazi salute to Hitler and claimed he was “not a bad chap”, larking around with his sister-in-law the Queen Mother and her young children in the grounds of Balmoral.
The Queen, in tartan kilt or skirt, is aged around seven while Margaret is three. The clip opens with a playful Elizabeth grabbing one of the royal corgis and pushing the dog across the lawn.
Facing the camera, she raises her arm in a Nazi salute. Margaret lifts a hand — her left, in a playful wave.
Elizabeth performs a Scottish jig then raises her right arm again, joining in with the Queen Mum as they both stand bolt upright with right arms hoisted.
Encouraged by Uncle Edward, Margaret raises her arms again before the clip ends with the Queen Mum and Edward saluting with their right arms.
Despite his real Nazi salute to Hitler, the film clip is the only pictorial record of Edward in the pose.
Experts last night hailed the footage as an incredible new historical document of huge public interest.
While there is clearly no suggestion that the Queen or Queen Mother were ever Nazi sympathisers, Edward’s links with Hitler and fascism are very well documented.
And historians believe the film could cast important new light on the Royal Family’s attitudes towards Germany in the 1930s — and the influence of Nazi-loving Edward.
Dr Karina Urbach, a top Nazi expert and member of the renowned London-based Institute of Historical Research, described the film as “remarkable”.
She said: “The video is pretty shocking. The Queen has a proud Second World War record and sense of duty to her country and no one would ever suggest she was sympathetic to Nazi Germany.
“She was a child when this film was shot, long before the atrocities of the Nazis became widely known.
“But Edward was already welcoming the regime as Prince of Wales in 1933 and remained pro-Nazi after war broke out in 1939.
“He could well be teaching the Queen and Princess Margaret how to do the salute.”
The University of London academic added: “Hitler’s movement had been growing fast since 1929 and many German relatives of the Royal Family were attracted to it.
“They could well have seen the salute on newsreels and are copying it. The film involves our monarch and is an important historical document that asks serious questions of the Royal Family.
“It is right that it is put into the public domain. It is high time the Royal Archives were open for serious research on the 1930s and the issue of Edward’s politics and their impact upon his generation within the Royal Family.”
Juliet Gardiner, former editor of History Today and a Research Fellow at the Institute of Historical Research, said: “It’s an insight into British attitudes towards Germany at that time in 1933, long before everyone really realised Hitler’s designs on Europe. It is absolutely right that the public sees it.”
The film is even more remarkable as — just seven years after it was made — George VI and Queen Elizabeth became inspirational figures of wartime defiance after visiting bombed-out Londoners during the Blitz of 1940.
At the time the future Queen Elizabeth, now 89, would have had no inkling of the implications of making a Nazi salute.
The original film remains under lock and key. But copies of the clip were made several years ago and one has now been handed to The Sun by a source who believes it to be of massive public interest and historical importance.
Experts last night defended the Queen’s Nazi salute as evidence of the royals playing around.
Respected military historian James Holland said: “They are all having a laugh, there are lots of smiles, so it’s all a big joke.
“I don’t think there was a child in Britain in the 1930s or 40s who has not performed a mock Nazi salute as a bit of a lark.
“It just shows the Royal Family are as human as the next man.
“It’s no secret Edward met Hitler and had right-wing sympathies. But the same cannot be said about the Queen Mother or King George VI.
“The two were completely steadfast from start to finish in their abhorrence of Nazism in their role as leaders of the free world and the fight against that tyranny.”
Now that we've mentioned that word "Windsor," I would just add the note that apparently lost in the shuffle, to The Sun and to CNN in its rehash of the story, is that there's a little more to the Germanic slant of the story than Edward's unquestioned Nazi sympathies. (There's also what we might call "the moronic slant." The guy really seems to have been a monster-caliber twit.) It's a slant that was much on the minds of Brits when they went to war against Germany in World War I. The result was the royal concoction of the "House of Windsor" in 1917 (links onsite):
The House of Windsor is the royal house of the United Kingdom and the other Commonwealth realms. It was founded by King George V by royal proclamation on 17 July 1917, when he changed the name of the British Royal Family from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (a branch of the House of Wettin) to the English Windsor, due to the anti-German sentiment in the British Empire during World War I. The most prominent member of the House of Windsor is its head, Queen Elizabeth II, who is the reigning monarch of 16 Commonwealth realms.It's true that it's now a long time since the first "English" king of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha was crowned in August 1902, and by now its descendants can legitimately be thought of as "naturalized." The German link, in case you've forgotten, is Queen Victoria's consort, Prince Albert, a scion of the aforementioned House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. King Edward VII was the son of Victoria and Albert, and that was good enough to earn him the throne, despite Brits' still-rigid loyalty to male-only inheritance in the Age of Downton Abbey. But Edward's subjects tended to remember that, despite his British mum, he was German.
-- first graf of the Wikipedia entry on the House of Windsor
Maybe it's Queen Elizabeth II's crowning accomplishment in her -- what is it? -- hundred years on the throne to make her compatriots forget where the "Windsors" come from. Not that there's anything wrong with it.