Buckingham Palace is defending film footage published by a British tabloid today that shows a young Queen performing a Nazi salute with her family at Balmoral.
The Sun published a grainy black and white clip of video dated 1933, when the Queen was six or seven years old. In the video, she joins the Queen Mother and her uncle Prince Edward, the Prince of Wales, in raising an arm in the "heil" salute. Nearby is her younger sister, Princess Margaret.
A spokesperson for Buckingham palace said: "It is disappointing that film, shot eight decades ago and apparently from Her Majesty's personal family archive, has been obtained and exploited in this manner."
A Palace source said: "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 news reels.
"No one at that time had any sense how it would evolve. To imply anything else is misleading and dishonest.
"The Queen is around six years of age at the time and entirely innocent of attaching any meaning to these gestures.
"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."