Buckingham Palace 'disappointed' at Queen 'Nazi salute' footage

The Sun front page bears a picture of the Queen performing the salute as a child. Credit: The Sun

Buckingham Palace has defended footage showing the Queen performing a Nazi salute.

The footage, published by The Sun, shows the Queen, then aged around seven, join the Queen Mother and her uncle Prince Edward in performing the salute in 1933, when Adolf Hitler was rising to power in Germany.

A palace spokesperson said it was "disappointing" the footage had been "exploited".

ITV News Royal Editor Tim Ewart said there is "considerable anger" from the palace and questions over how the footage was obtained.

In a statement, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson 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."

The Sun's managing editor defended the paper's decision to release the footage.

Stig Abell said the material was obtained in a "legitimate fashion" and that its publication was "not a criticism of the Queen or the Queen Mum".

"It is a historical document that really sheds some insight in to the behaviour of Edward VIII," he told BBC Radio 4's Today

"I understand that they don't like this coming out but I also feel, on a relatively purist basis, that the role of journalists and the media is to bring to light things that happened."

The black and white 17-second footage shows the Queen playing with a dog on the lawn in the gardens of Balmoral.

The Queen Mother then makes a Nazi salute, and after glancing towards her mother the Queen mimics the gesture.

Edward, the then Prince of Wales who abdicated to marry the American socialite Wallis Simpson, is also seen making the salute.

He faced numerous accusations of being a Nazi sympathiser and was photographed meeting Hitler in Munich in October 1937, less than two years before the Second World War broke out.

Edward and Wallis Simpson meeting Adolf Hitler. Credit: PA Wire

In an editorial column, The Sun said it was of great public importance and historical significance.

A palace source said the public would see the pictures in "their proper context and time".

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.

Buckingham Palace source