'Magical' footage of the Queen from 1945 goes on display in Brighton

  • ITV News Meridian's Andy Dickenson reports from Brighton, where rare film footage of the Queen's first visit to the city is on display

Rare footage of the Queen dating back almost 80 years has gone on display as part of Brighton University's screen archive collection.

It includes her first visits, as a Princess, to the city, and details of how the region's communities came together to watch her on television, for the very first time.

Experts expect the Queen's funeral on Monday to be the most watched broadcast of all time, with billions tuning in across the globe.

Rare footage, captured in Brighton in 1945, of the then Princess Elizabeth's visit has been seen by just a few people.

Frank Gray, Screen Archive South East said: "There is a Brighton filmmaker at a time when there would be no National news team there because it's not a significant event. And of course, Meridian is not there or BBC or any regional television companies, as they don't exist yet. It's a very special event because there is this one man with his camera who is part of the royal party and captures it."

One sequence shows people in Burgess Hill going into a town hall to watch the coronation on television. Credit: Screen Archive South East

While the Queen was the most recognised woman in the world, her coronation represented the first chance most people have ever had of watching a television.

One of the "magical sequences" was filmed in Burgess Hill during coronation week. It shows people walking in smart attire to go and collectively watch the ceremony together in a town hall.

Frank said: "It was not just the excitement of the new Elizabethan age and having a new Queen but also being able to see it. If we have a phone today, we actually have a television in our pocket but then it was so rare.

"I think it just reminds us just what in that period of 70 years, how much has changed and of course, that's why we're so connected to Her Majesty because she kind of represented and embodied that sense of change. She has so much been part of it, especially the way we've got to know her on television and through Christmas broadcasts."

The digitised archive will be available online for people to watch, as another way for many to remember and say goodbye to the monarch they have known all their lives.