Prince Johan Friso, 1968-2013

Prince Friso of Orange-Nassau, the younger brother of King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, has died aged 44. He had been in a coma since February 2012 when he was caught up in an avalanche in Austria.

There is footage from the announcement of his birth in the archive, though unfortunately there is no sound. In the clip, the baby prince is shown off to the Mayor, witnesses, the doctor and the press at the hospital and the baby’s name is registered (Johan Friso Bernhard Christiaan David van Oranje-Nassau van Amsberg) at Utrecht Town Hall.

British Pathé also filmed his christening in December 1968.You can view the film, released in cinemas by British Pathé in January 1969, here.

Prince Friso also makes an appearance at Queen Juliana’s birthday celebrations in 1969 along with King Willem-Alexander as a toddler.

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A Prince Is Born!

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Congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the birth of their son. His Royal Highness is third in line to the thrones of 16 independent nations.

Here is British Pathé’s 1948 announcement of the birth of Prince Charles:  View Film

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Ancestors of Kate Middleton Found On Film

Sir Charles Lupton (Kate's great-great-great uncle) leads a group of men, including Kate's great-great-grandfather, in reviewing troops in Leeds, 1915.
Sir Charles Lupton (Kate’s great-great-great uncle) leads a group of men, including Kate’s great-great-grandfather, in reviewing troops in Leeds, 1915.

Several of the Duchess of Cambridge’s ancestors have been discovered on newsreels within the British Pathé film library.

The earliest film (you can find them all here) dates back to 1915 and shows Kate Middleton’s great-great-great uncle, the Lord Mayor of Leeds Sir Charles Lupton paying a visit to the Leeds Pals Battalion in a camp near Colsterdale in the Yorkshire Dales. Sir Charles Lupton is being accompanied by his three brothers, one of which is the Duchess’ great-great grandfather, Francis Lupton. Francis and his other two brothers, Arthur and Hugh (who became Lord Mayor of Leeds in 1926) are the Duchess’ other great-great-great uncles and they were all Aldermen of the City of Leeds.

Princess Mary climbs into her car after meeting the Lord Mayor (left) and Lord Mayoress (right) of Leeds. These are Kate Middleton's great-great-great aunt and uncle.
Princess Mary climbs into her car after meeting the Lord Mayor (left, holding his top hat) and Lady Mayoress (right) of Leeds. These are Kate Middleton’s great-great-great aunt and uncle.

Another film called ‘Princess Mary’ is from 1927 and it shows Kate Middleton’s great-great-great uncle the Lord Mayor of Leeds Hugh Lupton and his wife Lady Mayoress Isabella Lupton greeting Princess Mary who had arrived in Leeds to inaugurate the Girls Week Campaign of Hunslet Young Women’s Christian Association. Princess Mary was King George VI’s sister and therefore is Prince William’s great-great- Aunt. 

Isabella Lupton (centre), the great-great-great aunt of the Duchess of Cambridge.
Isabella Lupton (centre), the great-great-great aunt of the Duchess of Cambridge.

We often get contacted by visitors to our website who are thrilled to find films of their ancestors, their close family or even themselves as youngsters. We knew we had many films of Prince William’s family, but it was a real surprise to find that we also have the Duchess of Cambridge’s ancestors and that they were meeting Royalty.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL THREE FILMS OF THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE’S ANCESTORS.

Our thanks to historian Michael Reed who uncovered the footage.

The Royal Yacht Britannia – Launched 60 Years Ago

Queen Elizabeth II’s beloved yacht Britannia was launched on 16th April 1953. British Pathé has a wealth of material featuring Britannia and her various expeditions around the world. Crucially, the archive has coverage of the launching, which can be viewed here.

Queen steps forward and names the ship "Britannia", wishing success to all who sail in her.
Queen steps forward and names the ship “Britannia”, wishing success to all who sail in her.
Britannia slides into the water at the launch.
Britannia slides into the water at the launch.
Britannia carries the Queen on one of her many tours. In this film, the yacht steams up the St Lawrence River in 1964. Click the still to view the film.
Britannia carries the Queen on one of her many tours. In this film, the yacht steams up the St Lawrence River in 1964. Click the still to view the film.

For British Pathé’s complete collection of Britannia footage, click here.

In other old news…

Today also marks the anniversary of the Great Train Robbers being sentenced in 1964. British Pathé covered aspects of the events and filmed the prison in which they served their time a couple of years later. View this collection.

The hideout of the Great Train Robbers at Leatherslade Farm, who were sentenced on 16th April 1964.
The hideout of the Great Train Robbers at Leatherslade Farm, who were sentenced on 16th April 1964.

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Review of the Year 2012 – A Pathé Tradition

From 1922 to 1969, British Pathé produced lengthy round-ups of the year’s news stories that collected together the most dramatic images and covered the most important events. Not confined to British politics, these reviews act as a whirlwind tour of the world at the time in which they were made, chronicling everything from war to royal christenings, technological innovations to key sports matches as they go. You can view the entire Review of the Yearcollection here or choose from the list at the bottom of this page.

Now, in that tradition, we take a look at the last 12 months in a review of 2012. Here are some highlights (one for each month) of this tremendous year for which the British Pathé archive holds some relevant footage:

January

Our review of 2012 begins with something that happened many years before, for January marked an important anniversary. 90 years ago, on 3rd January 1922, British archaeologist Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Egyptian pharoah Tutankhamun. British Pathé has footage of Carter outside his discovery, as well as coverage of the treasures found within. Click here to explore the collection.

Howard Carter at the tomb of Tutankhamun. Click the still to view the collection.
Howard Carter at the tomb of Tutankhamun. Click the still to view the collection.

February

It feels just like yesterday but it was in fact back in February that we all came out in celebration for the Diamond Jubilee of Elizabeth II. There was a royal river pageant (a gallery of previous royal barges can be found here), a concert, a Royal Tour of the country, and street parties across the nation.

British Pathé’s celebration of the life of Elizabeth II can be found here. Beginning with the Queen as a young girl with her grandmother, it features her marriage, her coronation, the royal tours, select royal visits within Britain, and the home life of the Royal Family. The collection concludes with footage of the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. Click the still to view the film.
The Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria in 1897. Click the still to view the film.

March

In March, the economic situation in the UK looked no better. Unemployment reached its highest figure (2.67 million) since 1995, though it was still not as high as in 1984. The ups and downs of unemployment can be traced via newsreels in the British Pathé archive. Click here to explore.

10,000 workers demonstrate in Trafalgar Square - 2,500 similar demonstrations were held in other parts of country - on Unemployment Sunday in 1923. Click the still to see our archive of unemployment-related clips.
10,000 workers demonstrate in Trafalgar Square – 2,500 similar demonstrations were held in other parts of country – on Unemployment Sunday in 1923. Click the still to see our archive of unemployment-related clips.

April

The Cutty Sark re-opened to visitors after a dreadful fire. But in April we also commemorated the 100th anniversary of the loss of Titanic. The British Pathé archive contains not only footage of the legendary liner herself, but also of her great sister ships Olympic and Britannic, both of which had accidents of their own. You can explore our centenary collection or read about the footage in the blog post, Titanic and the Other Two.

Click the still to visit our Titanic Centenary Collection.
Click the still to visit our Titanic Centenary Collection.

May

Yet another important anniversary, this time of Amelia Earhart’s crossing of the Atlantic 80 years prior. Interestingly, an expedition was launched in 2012 in an attempt to discover her remains. We wrote a blog post about it that included links to various clips featuring that amazing personality.

Click the still to read about The Hunt of Amelia Earhart.
Click the still to read about The Hunt for Amelia Earhart.

June

On 14th June 1982, the Falkland’s War came to an end, with Britain having reclaimed sovereignty over the islands following an Argentine invasion. June 2012, therefore, marked 30 years since the conclusion of the conflict. We wrote about it in our blog post When the Falklands Were Forgotten, and you can view relevant footage in this collection.

Click the still to view footage of the Falkland Islands and the 1982 war.
Click the still to view footage of the Falkland Islands and the 1982 war.

July

One cannot think of 2012 without thinking of the Olympics. British Pathé has footage of many Olympic Games, including the two other London years, 1908 and 1948. We also digitised 300 Olympics clips, making them available on the website for the very first time. You can read about them here.

Click to view 15 still images from what is now considered to be the first of the modern Olympic Games.
Click to view 15 still images from what is now considered to be the first of the modern Olympic Games.

August

One of the highlights of 2012 was the Paralympic Games, which began at the end of August and were also held in London. The Paralympics started life in the British village of Stoke Mandeville and the Ninth Annual International Stoke Mandeville Games (1960) are now known as the first Summer Paralympics. British Pathé’s collection of material on the Stoke Mandeville Games can be viewed here.

Click this still to visit our gallery, "Paralympics: Pictorial History".
Click this still to visit our gallery, “Paralympics: Pictorial History”.

September

Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democrats to run for re-election. He went on to win the 2012 Presidential Election and became the only Democrat to have won the popular vote twice since Franklin Roosevelt. You can see some clips from Roosevelt’s three presidential election wins here.

President Roosevelt takes the oath for his second term. Click the still to view films covering his three presidential election wins.
President Roosevelt takes the oath for his second term. Click the still to view films covering his three presidential election wins.

October

A YouTube sensation! Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier, leaping from a balloon 24 miles above the ground.

In 1960, balloonist Captain Joseph W Kittinger made the then-highest ascent and longest jump. Click the still to view the film.
In 1960, balloonist Captain Joseph W Kittinger made the then-highest ascent and longest jump. Click the still to view the film.

November

It was the Queen and Prince Philip’s 65th (blue sapphire) Wedding Anniversary in November, as well as the 20th anniversary of the Windsor Castle fire in what was the Queen’s “annus horribilis“. You can watch footage of the fire and A Day That Shook The World episodes on the British Royal Family in Crisis and the separation of Charles and Diana, or view the the announcement of the Queen’s engagement and the coverage of her wedding.

The Wedding Day in 1947. Click the still to view the film.
The Wedding Day in 1947. Click the still to view the film.

December

In the final month of 2012, the world received the news that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, and Prince William were expecting their first child. We took a guess at possible baby names in this gallery. You can also vote in our poll here.

This still shows the Queen holding baby Prince Andrew. Click to visit our Royal Baby Names gallery.
This still shows the Queen holding baby Prince Andrew. Click to visit our Royal Baby Names gallery.

Have we missed something important for which the British Pathé archive has relevant material? Leave us a comment. You can also search our Ten Most Popular Clips of 2012 and visit our tumblr and Pinterest pages which were launched this year.

We hope you enjoyed 2012 as much as we did. Here’s to 2013!

Watch a previous “Review of the Year” by selecting from the list below:

Episode Title Date
1 Look Back On 1922 1922
2 Section From Review Of 1923 1923
3 1925 Reviewed ( Reel 1 Of 3) 1926
4 1925 Reviewed (Reel 2 Of 3) 1926
5 1925 Reviewed (Reel 3 Of 3) 1926
6 Review Of 1934 1934
7 Review Of The Year 1935 1935
8 Review Of The Year 1936 1936
9 Review Of The Year 1938
10 Review Of The Year – 1939 1939
11 Review Of The Year 1940 1940
12 Review Of The Year 1941 1941
13 Review Of The Year – 1943 1943
14 Review Of The Year 1946 1946
15 Looking Back – On 1947 1947
16 1948 A Year Of Great Decision (Aka Review Of The Year ) 1948
17 Akc Review Of 1949 1949
18 Review Of The Year 1950 Record A 1950
19 Review Of The Year 1950 Record B 1950
20 Pathe News Reviews 1951 1951
21 The Crowning Year 1953
22 Pathe News Reviews 1954 – A Year Of Endeavour 1954
23 Review Of The Year 1955
24 Pathe News Reviews 1956 – Year Of Turmoil 1956
25 Reviews 1957 (Aka Review Of The Year – 1957) 1957
26 Review Of 1958 1958
27 Review Of The Year 1959 1959
28 Review Of 1960 1960
29 Review Of 1961 1961
30 Review Of 1962 1962
31 Review Of 1963 1963
32 Review Of 1964 1964
33 A Year Of Achievements – Technicolor 1966
34 Review Of The Year 1967
35 Review Of The Sixties 1970

From the Dark Ages

King Arthur and his legendary Knights of the Round Table; the heroic King of Wessex, Alfred the Great; hordes of Viking invaders – there’s nothing like a good early-medieval tale. Nostalgia for the Dark Ages is nothing new and we’ve put together a collection of material on people revelling in the trappings of that period and culture.

Strictly speaking, there weren’t really any “Dark Ages”. They are more a creation of popular culture than any historical reality and academics today discourage use of the term as judgemental and inaccurate. Indeed, many inventions of the so-called Dark Ages are still in use today, so there’s much to celebrate in the era after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

In this post, we celebrate just a few things that have survived from the Dark Ages into the Twentieth Century through footage within the British Pathé archive. More clips can be found in our collection here.

1. The foundation of the English language

It wouldn’t be easy for us to pick up a 5th-century Old English manuscript and read it like we would a modern-day novel. Indeed, here is a short passage from Beowulf, written some time between the 8th and the 11th centuries:

Hwæt. We Gardena    in gear-dagum,
þeodcyninga,     þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas     ellen fremedon.

Translated, this would be:

What. We of the Spear-Danes  in old days of the people-kings,    power heard, how the princes    brave deeds did.*

It is hard to believe that this Old English passage bears much relation to our own language, but this is the root of the way we write and speak; a language which would evolve over the centuries; a language of Chaucer, Shakespeare, Dickens, and Dan Brown.

Ernest Hemingway, a 20th century author making use of a language invented during the "Dark Ages", in a still from a newsreel announcing his suicide. Click the still to view the 1961 film.
Ernest Hemingway, a 20th century author making use of a language invented during the “Dark Ages”, in a still from a newsreel announcing his suicide. Click the still to view the 1961 film.

2. English Christianity

In 597 AD, the Benedictine monk Augustine arrived on the pagan shores of early-medieval Britain on a mission to spread Christianity on behalf of the Pope. Augustine is known as the first Archbishop of Canterbury, a position that has survived to the present day.

Dr. Geoffrey Fisher blesses the congregation following his enthronement as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1945. Click the still to view the film.
Dr. Geoffrey Fisher blesses the congregation following his enthronement as Archbishop of Canterbury in 1945. Click the still to view the film.

3. The Blast Furnace

The first to invent the Blast Furnace were the Chinese in the 5th century. Western Europe, on the other hand, would not catch up until the 12th century. But the “Dark Ages” did introduce something similar and very close to it. That was the Catalan forge, created in Catalonia, Spain during the 8th century.

This 1940s education film details the workings of the blast furnace, an invention of the "Dark Ages". Click the still to view the film.
This 1940s education film details the workings of the blast furnace, which was preceded by a similar invention from the “Dark Ages”. Click the still to watch.

4. The Horseshoe

Nailed horseshoes were an innovation of the “Dark Ages”, possibly from the 9th century, allowing horses to more easily traverse difficult territory without causing harm to their hooves.

A look at the work of village blacksmith Arthur Booth. Near Darlington, Durham, 1943. Click the still to view the film.
A look at the work of village blacksmith Arthur Booth. Near Darlington, Durham, 1943. Click the still to view the film.

5. The English Navy

The earliest references to ships used by English kings in battle come from the “Dark Ages”. It was the threat of Viking invaders that propelled the formation of a navy on a large scale during the course of the 9th century, particularly under King Alfred the Great. Over the centuries, Britain grew into the world’s greatest maritime power, before declining significantly in influence during the 20th century.

'"Rule Britannia!" Pictures to thrill every British heart (taken by special permission) during Atlantic Battle Fleet Manoeuvres.' Click the still to view this 1928 newsreel.
“Rule Britannia! Pictures to thrill every British heart (taken by special permission) during Atlantic Battle Fleet Manoeuvres.” Click the still to view this 1928 newsreel.

6. Sheriffs

The office of sheriff has had a varying meaning depending on the period and the particular country. In England it is now a ceremonial position, but in the 10th century it was a “keeper of the peace” appointed by the king and was known as a “shire reeve”, somewhat akin to the modern-day American police officer.

Almost every Sheriff in Britain is at the ceremony of Exeter's 400th anniversary in this 1937 film. Click the still to view it.
Almost every Sheriff in Britain is at the ceremony of Exeter’s 400th anniversary in this 1937 film. Click the still to view it.

7. The English Monarchy

Alfred the Great was the first to style himself as “King of the English”, but it was King Aethelstan in the 10th century who really ruled what we would consider to be an English kingdom. Polls show that the British have no desire to rid themselves of this historic institution.

The Queen is crowned in this colour footage of the coronation. Click the still to view the film.
The Queen is crowned in this colour footage of the coronation. Click the still to view the film.

Can you think of any more? Object to any of our choices? Leave us a comment.

You can find all of the above films and many more in this collection.

* Source: http://www.nvcc.edu/home/vpoulakis/Translation/beowulf1.htm

Annus Horribilis: 20 Years On

Believe it or not, it has been twenty years since the Queen had her annus horribilis – that terrible year, 1992. Specifically, 20th November marks the anniversary of the Windsor Castle fire. It is interesting in the year of her Diamond Jubilee and blue sapphire wedding anniversary to look back on that difficult time for the Queen and the British monarchy in general.

Simpler times – the Royal Family at Windsor – before the divorces, scandals, and the “Annus Horribilis”.

“1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure. In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an Annus Horribilis.” This is what the Queen said in November 1992 after the Duke and Duchess of York separated, Princess Anne got divorced, and Windsor Castle went up in flames. And that was not even the end of it, for in December, the announcement was made by John Major to the House of Commons that Prince Charles and Diana, Princess of Wales, were separating too.

Although these events occurred decades after the final British Pathé newsreel was released (see this blog post), they are succinctly summarised in the BBC/British Pathé co-production, A Day That Shook The World. The relevant episodes, narrated by John Humphrys, are: British Royal Family in Crisis, Windsor Castle Damaged by Fire, and The Prince and Princess Separate. Click the links to view the films.

Things would not improve for the Queen in the following few years. With the death of Diana, the monarchy’s popularity declined. Again, these tragic events are covered in A Day That Shook The World episodes, on the car accident in Paris and the funeral.

And yet, in 2012, the monarchy is incredibly popular. The Queen had her Diamond Jubilee this year and the entire country came out in support and celebration. Popularity ebbs and flows.

And the Queen’s personal life must be happier too. Prince William and Kate are a popular couple, Charles and Camilla are married and, by and large, accepted by the public, and the 20th November marks her 65th (blue sapphire) wedding anniversary – the same day as the devastating Windsor Castle fire. Their marriage has been a successful and supportive one. We offer our congratulations.

A happy marriage.
The Wedding Day in 1947.

On the occasion of the Queen and Prince Philip’s wedding anniversary, you can view the announcement of their engagement and the coverage of their wedding on the British Pathé website.

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