Newly colourised photos of the Queen as young woman have given a glimpse at Princess Elizabeth as you’ve never seen her before.
Ahead of the Platinum Jubilee this weekend, where Her Majesty will celebrate 70 years on the throne, these snaps show her from a few days old to her early adulthood driving with Prince Philip and riding horse through Buckingham Palace.
One photo shows Elizabeth on a horse and carriage ride through the park at just two years old, while another shows her in a gorgeous purple dress with Princess Margaret at Eton for a cricket match in 1947.
The photos have been discovered in the TopFoto archives, documenting moments throughout the Queen’s life from her birth in 1926 to 1952, just before she ascended the throne.
Queen Elizabeth was born on 21 April 1926 and became first in line for the throne after her uncle Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 and her father, George VI, became King.
Nobody had expected Elizabeth to ever ascend the throne, as Edward was young and expected to have plenty of heirs, who would overtake Elizabeth’s place in line.
However, less than a year after the death of Elizabeth’s grandfather, King George V, Edward abdicated the throne in order to marry Wallace Simpson, an American divorcee.
During the Second World War, Elizabeth – then 13 – and her sister Margaret refused to be evacuated to Canada and stayed in the UK, living in Scotland, Norfolk and Windsor over the course of the war.
As well as putting on pantomimes to raise money for the war effort, Elizabeth trained as a driver and mechanic and was given the rank of honorary junior commander with the Auxiliary Territorial Service.
Over the course of the war, Elizabeth had been exchanging letters with Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark, and in 1947 the two announced their engagement, marrying later that year.
The couple welcomed their first child – Prince Charles – in 1948, followed by Princess Anne in 1950. A decade later, they would have their second son, Prince Andrew, and in 1964, their third, Prince Edward.
In 1952, the news reached Elizabeth that her father had died, making her Queen with immediate effect. Coronated in June 1953, Queen Elizabeth began the reign that has so far lasted 70 years, bringing her to her Platinum Jubilee.
Newly colourised photos of the Queen as young woman have given a glimpse at Princess Elizabeth as you’ve never seen her before: The wheeled easy chairs on the lawn are just the thing to enjoy a quiet sunny afternoon at the Royal Lodge, Windsor. The Queen is pictured in 1946, aged 20, with sister Margaret, their mother, and a corgi
Dancing Queen! Princess Elizabeth square dancing at Ottawa Government House reception in 1952. Now in full colour, the photos show the gorgeous details of her dress
Style sisters! The royal siblings – then Princess Elizabeth and Margaret – are seen in June 1947 in Eton, just a short distance from their home at Windsor Castle. They attended the village to watch Eton Ramblers v Eton College cricket match
Oh baby! Princess Elizabeth taken for a drive in Hyde Park, aged just two. Her Majesty grew up at 145 Picadilly, which was on the edge of Hyde Park
This rare photograph of Princess Elizabeth was made on one of her first outings on October 9, 1926 when she was just six months old
Princess Elizabeth (now Queen Elizabeth II) at Coronation Concert for children at Central Hall, Westminster – 6th April 1937, a few weeks before she turned 11
Pulling her socks up! Princess Elizabeth arrives at Olympia on 3rd May 1933, aged seven. She appeared to get out of the car and adjust her socks
On her high horse! Princess Elizabeth rides through Buckingham Palace gates after 1951 following Trooping of the Colour
Princess Elizabeth stroking one of the prize winning horses during a visit to Richmond Show June 1934 In the show ring with she show chairman the late Mr Romer Williams
Queen Elizabeth II , who left the country as Princess Elizabeth on the first stage of her Commonwealth tour with the Duke of Edinburgh , photographed in their car as they leave London Airport on arrival back this afternoon by air from Kenya after the death of her father on 7 February 1952
August 1943: Princess Elizabeth with her sister Princess Margaret helped the war effort – and had tremendous fun – helping the land girls to being in the harvest at Sandringham’s farm
Taken in 1942, this portrait of Princess Elizabeth, made in the Bow Room at Buckingham Palace, shows her Royal Highness wearing the insignia of the Grenadier Guards
Princess Elizabeth recording her first broadcast from Windsor, aired during Children’s Hour for BBC radio. Princess Margaret sitting beside her on the left. 13 October 1940
New born Queen! Queen Mother and Queen Elizabeth II in 1926 when the now 96-year-old was just a few days old
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh attended the rehearsal of the Coronation ceremony at Westminster Abbey in 1953 ahead of her coronation
Princess Elizabeth (left) and Princess Margaret kiss as they part at the Guildhall after a luncheon at which Princess Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh were welcomed back from Canada by the City of London in 1951