Rare photograph of teenage Queen Elizabeth starring in wartime pantomime is sold at auction

060122 queen and margaret in panto rare pic up for auction
The future Queen, Princess Elizabeth is seen on the left, with her sister Princess Margaret on the right Credit: William George

A rare photograph of the teenage Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret in costume for a pantomime at Windsor Castle has been sold at auction for £800.

The picture shows the pair dressed up for a performance of Old Mother Red Riding Boots in a 1944 show for armed forces and local children.

Princess Elizabeth was just 18 when she starred as Lady Christina Sherwood while Margaret, who was 14, played the Honourable Lucinda Fairfax.

The royal sisters were part of a large cast gathered from the castle and the Royal Windsor School.

The photo and pantomime programme, listing Elizabeth and Margaret as cast members, belonged to Stanley Williams, who was superintendent of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.

He is mentioned as a "manager" of the pantomime in the programme.

His family have sold the photograph, a programme and a ticket for the show with auctioneers William George in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. 

A William George spokesperson said: "The lot comes from the family as they want to ensure it stays in the hands of someone who appreciates this group of items' historical importance.

"Old Mother Red Riding Boots was an opportunity for Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret to provide some wartime entertainment to the Armed Forces and the Children of Windsor.

The programme for the Panto lists the Queen and Princess Margaret in the cast list Credit: William George Auctioneers

"Needless to say, the Royal Family and staff at Windsor Castle worked very hard to provide some light entertainment for the audience at a time when this was in short supply."

The show, combining elements of several different fairytales, was written and produced by school headmaster Hubert Tanner.

It was performed between December 21 and 23, 1944, with up to 600 people, including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, in the audience.

It comes just a month after costumes made for a teenage Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret when they took to the stage in the Old Mother Red Riding Boots pantomime were put on display at Windsor Castle for the first time.

They are on show until the end of January.

During the festive seasons in four years during the Second World War, the Queen could be seen embracing the Christmas spirit as she performed in various pantomimes with her sister Princess Margaret.

The future monarch starred in several productions in the Waterloo chamber in Windsor castle, including in the lead role as Aladdin in 1943.

The Royal Collection Trust said the young princesses helped to make the costumes themselves - Princess Elizabeth for the title character, Aladdin, and Princess Margaret for her character, Princess Rozanna.

It is believed that the oriental style costumes used furnishing fabric that had once been in the State Rooms at Windsor Castle.