Unseen footage of the Queen beaming at engagement ring to be unveiled in new documentary

20-year-old Princess Elizabeth enjoying a visit to South Africa in 1947.
20-year-old Princess Elizabeth enjoying a visit to South Africa in 1947. Credit: PA

Unseen footage of the Queen, including her beaming at her engagement ring months before the announcement was made public, is to be unveiled in a new BBC documentary.

The Queen granted the broadcaster unprecedented access to hundreds of home-made recordings shot by her, her parents and the Duke of Edinburgh in honour of her upcoming Platinum Jubilee.

The home movies, which had been held privately by the Royal Collection in the vaults of the British Film Institute (BFI), capture the Queen’s life from being pushed in a pram by her mother to her coronation in 1953.

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The 75-minute documentary, titled Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen, captures the first extended visit of Prince Philip to Balmoral in 1946 while the couple’s engagement was still not public.

It depicts a beaming Princess Elizabeth showing the camera her engagement ring.

The Queen was a young princess when she first met naval cadet Prince Philip of Greece in 1939, during a visit to the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth where he was studying.

Philip, who was just 18, was introduced to 13-year-old Elizabeth at the house of the captain of the college.

The pair began writing to each other and Philip was invited to spend the Christmas of 1943 with the royal family at Windsor.

The unveiled footage shows the Queen smiling at her engagement ring. Credit: PA

It has previously been suggested the couple became unofficially engaged in the summer of 1946 while they were staying at Balmoral but the official announcement was delayed until after Princess Elizabeth reached the age of 21 and returned from a royal tour of South Africa the following year.

The couple wed in November 1947 and were married for 73 years before the Duke of Edinburgh died last April, just a few months before his 100th birthday.

The BBC documentary will depict rare moments including footage of Princess Elizabeth with her uncle Prince George The Duke of Kent, who tragically died in a plane crash in 1942 while on active service, and the King’s last visit to Balmoral in 1951.

Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth with their beloved father King George VI onboard HMS Vanguard in 1947. Credit: PA

It will also show the Queen as a young mother with the King and Queen fond grandparents to Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

BBC Studios reviewed more than 400 reels of film, discovering lost newsreel and behind the scenes recordings of state events, believed to have been privately commissioned by the royal family.

Filmmakers listened to more than three hundred of the Queen’s speeches, spanning over eight decades, to make the film which will be narrated by the Queen’s own voice and words alongside newsreel audio.