Thanks to the recent film ‘The King’s Speech’ (which we really enjoyed) there has been a spate of interest in our footage of the Royal Family, especially the reign of King George VI and those that were closely connected to him.
Of course clips that show George VI stuttering and stammering were initially the ones everybody was eager to see, spurred on by Colin Firth’s performance, but the British Pathé archive has a lot more to offer, and so we thought you might like to watch these clips too:
The young Princess Elizabeth makes a state visit to Australia via Kenya in 1952. But she never got as far as Australia because her father died and so she flew back to England, this time a Queen.
Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip is with her “from the chills of London to the warm sun of East Africa and another world”, “Some favour western styles, others the savage grandeur of tribal dress for this great occasion”
In the clip Princess Elizabeth meets a boy called ‘Prince Selim’, he was named Prince because he was born on the same day as Princess Elizabeth’s son Prince Charles (we wonder where Selim is now?)
They retire to Sagana Lodge, a beautiful “wood and stone” house, which was a wedding present from the Kenyan government, on the fringe of a large game reserve.
The Kenyan clip above was never shown in cinemas due to the death of King George VI, British Pathé issued this clip ‘Britain Mourns’ instead.
“It was announced from Sandringham at 10.45 today February the 6th 1942, that the King that retired to rest last night in his usual health passed peacefully away in his sleep this morning.”
“The King is dead, swift from the press the news flows to the farthest corners of our island. In our hearts we feel this cannot be.” A fantastic piece of newsreel coverage.
Set across two reels, one showing the procession, another the ceremony, this is the elaborate (and supposedly calamitous) coronation of George VI. We suspect Lionel Logue (George’s voice coach, played in the film The King’s Speech by Guy Pierce) is in this footage. You can also watch the Royal procession leading up to the ceremony too.
King George VI was noted for his enthusiasm for youth games and summer camps. Here we see the Juvenile Olympiads. The clip comes across a little controversial now as the children give what we now know as a Nazi salute to the King, of course it was a universal signal back then before Hitler adopted it.
It still astounds us that funerals of such importance were recorded and can be watched back today. Think George VI’s funeral was a long time ago? Try searching for Thomas Hardy, or even Queen Victoria!