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The Queen as you’ve never seen her before

He served with distinction in the Royal Navy and was mentioned in dispatches, but a humble lilo proved to be Prince Philip’s downfall.

These extraordinary pictures are taken from candid home movie footage – never seen in public before – of the young Queen and her husband off duty at Christmas in 1953.

It was shot by Patricia Norrie, the wife of the then Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Willoughby Norrie, who was hosting the couple on the local leg of a gruelling seven-month Commonwealth tour.

It now features in a fascinating documentary, The Queen Unseen, to be shown tonight on ITV1 at 9pm, marking the monarch’s 95th birthday later this month. 

The trip had proved a gruelling one for the young monarch, who had been crowned earlier in the year, and she and Philip were said to have relished the chance for a little downtime.

The Queen with Prince Andrew as a baby at Balmoral in 1960. The Queen Unseen looks back at The Queen when she was pregnant with her third child, Prince Andrew, and then her youngest son, Prince Edward. She rearranged plans and meetings to spend more time with them and to be able to put them to bed

A young Queen films with a Cine camera at a private house, as a guest of the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Willoughby Norrie (not shown) on Christmas Day, 1953

A young Queen films with a Cine camera at a private house, as a guest of the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Willoughby Norrie (not shown) on Christmas Day, 1953

The Queen with Prince Andrew as a baby at Balmoral in 1960. The Queen Unseen looks back at The Queen when she was pregnant with her third child, Prince Andrew, and then her youngest son, Prince Edward. She rearranged plans and meetings to spend more time with them and to be able to put them to bed

The Duke of Edinburgh pulls 10 year old Sarah Stephenson along on a lilo. The Queen is the most famous woman in the world, yet as she reaches her 95th birthday she remains an enigma. In this unique film, we lift the mask of royalty to reveal the remarkable woman behind the throne

The Duke of Edinburgh is pictured falling off the lilo and into the water. Using unseen home movies, intimate informal archive and recently digitised ‘lost’ material from some of the 116 countries she has visited, we’ll uncover the real Elizabeth Windsor

The Duke of Edinburgh is pictured falling off the lilo and into the water. Using unseen home movies, intimate informal archive and recently digitised ‘lost’ material from some of the 116 countries she has visited, we’ll uncover the real Elizabeth Windsor

A young Queen rides with President Tito in Belgrade in 1972 A light-hearted moment for the Queen and President Tito during her first visit to a communist country in 1972.  During her stay, informal footage captured the Queen and the President in off guard moments

A young Queen rides with President Tito in Belgrade in 1972 A light-hearted moment for the Queen and President Tito during her first visit to a communist country in 1972.  During her stay, informal footage captured the Queen and the President in off guard moments

The Queen and Prince Philip take a traditional sleigh ride during their Canadian Tour in 1951. Filmed in colour for a movie called Royal Journey, it was the first colour feature film made in Canada

The Queen and Prince Philip take a traditional sleigh ride during their Canadian Tour in 1951. Filmed in colour for a movie called Royal Journey, it was the first colour feature film made in Canada

A young Queen with horses while on a Canadian Tour in 1951. The Queen and Prince Philip took a traditional sleigh ride filmed in colour for a movie called Royal Journey, the first colour feature film made in Canada

A young Queen with horses while on a Canadian Tour in 1951. The Queen and Prince Philip took a traditional sleigh ride filmed in colour for a movie called Royal Journey, the first colour feature film made in Canada

The Queen joining the family at the outdoor swimming pool, with the Duke of Edinburgh in swimming trunks and New ZealandÕs Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie, Christmas Day 1953. In a rare and unseen private home movie we get a glimpse of the young Queen off duty. Taking a short break from the gruelling tour, the royal couple stayed with New Zealand's Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie, whose wife filmed the visit which took place over Christmas in 1953

The Queen joining the family at the outdoor swimming pool, with the Duke of Edinburgh in swimming trunks and New ZealandÕs Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie, Christmas Day 1953. In a rare and unseen private home movie we get a glimpse of the young Queen off duty. Taking a short break from the gruelling tour, the royal couple stayed with New Zealand’s Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie, whose wife filmed the visit which took place over Christmas in 1953

In 1953, The Queen left on a tour of the Commonwealth with the Duke of Edinburgh, which took her away from home and her young children for six months

In 1953, The Queen left on a tour of the Commonwealth with the Duke of Edinburgh, which took her away from home and her young children for six months

The Duke of Edinburgh struggles on the lilo in unseen images of the young Queen off-duty

The Duke of Edinburgh struggles on the lilo in unseen images of the young Queen off-duty 

The Queen is pictured strolling by the poolside in a rare and unseen private home movie. Taking a short break from the gruelling tour, the royal couple stayed with New Zealand's Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie, whose wife filmed the visit which took place over Christmas in 1953

The Queen is pictured strolling by the poolside in a rare and unseen private home movie. Taking a short break from the gruelling tour, the royal couple stayed with New Zealand’s Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie, whose wife filmed the visit which took place over Christmas in 1953

According to the couple’s daughter, Sarah Stevenson, it was ‘terribly exciting’ to have the royal party staying at their home and the royals mucked in with the rest of the family.

Father Christmas delivered presents from them to take home to their young children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

How Army officer Sir Willoughby Norrie led with distinction and once caught a 2,225lb shark

Sir Willoughby Norrie

Sir Willoughby Norrie

Sir Willoughby Norrie was an Army officer and general born in London in 1893 who saw active service during the First World War, winning the Military Cross in 1915 and Distinguished Service Order in 1919. He married Jocelyn Helen Gosling in 1921 but she died in 1938.

Sir Willoughby then married his second wife Patricia Merryweather Bainbridge in London in the same year and commanded the 1st Armoured Brigade when the Second World War broke out in 1939, also leading the XXX Corps in North Africa in 1941.

By 1943 he held the post of Major General, Royal Armoured Corps, but retired the following year after accepting the governorship of South Australia.

Within his first two years in Adelaide he had visited 300 schools, every local government area and mining district in his attempts to keep the ‘Empire spirit alive’.

In 1952 he left to become Governor-General of New Zealand, until 1957. He then retired and claimed his greatest achievement was catching a 2,225lb (1009kg) shark with a rod and reel off Port Lincoln.

He died in 1977 in Wantage, Oxfordshire, and was survived by his wife and their son and two daughters, and by the son and daughter of his first marriage.

And Sir Willoughby and his wife even gave the Queen and Philip a stocking each – containing a dog’s lead for the Queen and a blue and white Wedgwood ashtray for Philip, which caused much amusement as it had his wife’s head on it.

After lunch they went to the private pool along with the Queen equerry at the time, Johnny Spencer, later Earl Spencer and father of Princess Diana.

According to Mrs Stevenson, towering Philip – wearing tiny dark ‘budgie smuggler’ swimming shorts – tried several times to get on the lilo, but each time plunged into the pool roaring with laughter.

Always mindful of her public image, Queen didn’t join in, but happily watched her husband from the patio, her own video camera in hand, comfortable to film and be filmed.

ITV’s The Queen Unseen features a host of rare home movie footage, hoping to shed new light on our most enigmatic of monarchs.

With almost 70 years of royal globe trotting under her belt, the Queen is the country’s most experienced international statesman.

And her skills were most definitely needed when she visited Belgrade in 1972 after the Yugoslav dictator Marshal Tito personally asked to meet her to mark his 80th birthday.

Footage shot by Tito’s personal cameraman shows the monarch, on her first visit to a communist country, charming her host.

Among the light-hearted moments is the time they shared a golf buggy together – and even an orange.

The Queen is rarely seen on camera eating – she very much disapproves of that – but happily tucked into a piece of fruit and offered her host a segment. 

The visit was considered a rousing success.

Broadcaster Wesley Kerr tells the documentary: ‘Britain absolutely has been well served by the Queen in terms of her mastery of diplomacy, the absence of slip-ups.’

Another shot shows the Queen with seven-month-old Prince Andrew as a baby at Balmoral in 1960, one of the first colour pictures taken of the young royal.

The documentary also highlights the Queen’s 40-year friendship with New Zealand dairy farmer Don Ferguson, with whom she co-owned a herd of Jersey cows after meeting him at an agricultural show in 1975.

Sarah shares private footage of The Queen joining the family at the outdoor swimming pool, as the Duke of Edinburgh struggles to climb onto a lilo in the water

Sarah shares private footage of The Queen joining the family at the outdoor swimming pool, as the Duke of Edinburgh struggles to climb onto a lilo in the water

Sarah shares private footage of The Queen joining the family at the outdoor swimming pool, as the Duke of Edinburgh struggles to climb onto a lilo in the water

Sarah shares private footage of The Queen joining the family at the outdoor swimming pool, as the Duke of Edinburgh struggles to climb onto a lilo in the water

The Duke of Edinburgh splashes into the pool after falling from the lido. Taking a short break from the gruelling tour, the royal couple stayed with New Zealand's Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie, whose wife filmed the visit which took place over Christmas in 1953

The Duke of Edinburgh splashes into the pool after falling from the lido. Taking a short break from the gruelling tour, the royal couple stayed with New Zealand’s Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie, whose wife filmed the visit which took place over Christmas in 1953

His daughter Sarah Stephenson, was 10 at the time and recalls the excitement of The Queen’s stay: “There were lots of presents for Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who were very young and were at home in England, so it must have been very difficult for The Queen and the Duke to leave their children behind for such a long trip'

His daughter Sarah Stephenson, was 10 at the time and recalls the excitement of The Queen’s stay: ‘There were lots of presents for Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who were very young and were at home in England, so it must have been very difficult for The Queen and the Duke to leave their children behind for such a long trip’

“There was one time when my sister and I were taking our dogs for a walk, and The Queen said she wished she could come with us,' Sarah Stephenson recalled

‘There was one time when my sister and I were taking our dogs for a walk, and The Queen said she wished she could come with us,’ Sarah Stephenson recalled 

The Queen is pictured by the poolside in these rare and previously unseen images. Back in England, The Queen found her public persona under close scrutiny and was criticised in a magazine article by a Tory peer who described her as a ‘priggish schoolgirl’

The Queen is pictured by the poolside in these rare and previously unseen images. Back in England, The Queen found her public persona under close scrutiny and was criticised in a magazine article by a Tory peer who described her as a ‘priggish schoolgirl’

Back in England, The Queen found her public persona under close scrutiny and was criticised in a magazine article by a Tory peer who described her as a ‘priggish schoolgirl’

Back in England, The Queen found her public persona under close scrutiny and was criticised in a magazine article by a Tory peer who described her as a ‘priggish schoolgirl’

A young Queen with President Tito in Belgrade in 1972. A light-hearted moment for the Queen and President Tito during her first visit to a communist country in 1972

A young Queen with President Tito in Belgrade in 1972. A light-hearted moment for the Queen and President Tito during her first visit to a communist country in 1972

The Queen became the first monarch to visit a Communist country when she met President Tito in Belgrade in 1972. The Queen is seen relaxing with the President whilst she eats an orange he picks her from a tree (a rare moment as the Queen rarely eats in public) and she laughs, flashing a captivating smile as Tito himself drives her around in a bizarre golf buggy

The Queen became the first monarch to visit a Communist country when she met President Tito in Belgrade in 1972. The Queen is seen relaxing with the President whilst she eats an orange he picks her from a tree (a rare moment as the Queen rarely eats in public) and she laughs, flashing a captivating smile as Tito himself drives her around in a bizarre golf buggy 

The Queen at Windsor Castle in 1992 with a cow called Elizabeth. The Queen is known for her love of horses, cattle farming and corgis

The Queen at Windsor Castle in 1992 with a cow called Elizabeth. The Queen is known for her love of horses, cattle farming and corgis

The Queen and Prince Philip in New ZealandIn 1953. The Queen caught smiling at Prince Philip, while talking to one of the dignitaries at an engagement during their tour in New Zealand in 1953-54. Prince Philip was a great source of support, making the Queen laugh during a gruelling tour

The Queen and Prince Philip in New ZealandIn 1953. The Queen caught smiling at Prince Philip, while talking to one of the dignitaries at an engagement during their tour in New Zealand in 1953-54. Prince Philip was a great source of support, making the Queen laugh during a gruelling tour

He would regularly ring the Queen and let her know if their animals had won any prizes at the various cattle shows he attended.

On a visit to the country in 1990, the monarch made a point of detouring to visit him – and her cows.

Mr Ferguson’s widow, June, recalled how when visiting the paddock the monarch referred to her husband’s bad language. Mrs Ferguson noted that Philip ‘swears like a trooper’.

She says the Queen remarked to Mr Ferguson that ‘all husbands swear, don’t they?’, which made Mrs Ferguson laugh as her husband barely uttered a curse in his life.

The Queen Unseen is on ITV1 tonight at 9pm 

How Queen covered 44,000 miles during her longest ever Commonwealth tour which saw her visit Bermuda, New Zealand, Uganda and Australia over six months 

The Queen’s reign began with her longest ever Commonwealth tour, lasting six months from November 1953 to May 1954 and covering 44,000 miles across the West Indies, Australasia, Asia and Africa.

The countries visited were Bermuda and Jamaica in November 1953, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand in December 1953; Australia in February 1954, Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden and Uganda in April 1954, and Malta and Gibraltar in May 1954.

The Queen, whose coronation was in June 1953, initially flew to Bermuda and then to Jamaica, before boarding the SS Gothic which she used for the rest of her tour. Thousands flocked to the River Thames in May 1954 to see her return. 

The tour featured in Netflix royal drama The Crown – during episode eight of series one, which also depicts some of the Queen’s advisers suggesting beforehand that she was not ready for such a big diplomatic endeavor. 

Here is a series of photographs of visits the Queen made with the Duke of Edinburgh during the Commonwealth tour: 

The Queen and Prince Philip return to Government House after attending a youth rally in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 1953

The Queen and Prince Philip return to Government House after attending a youth rally in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 1953

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the feast given in honour of the visiting royal couple in Tonga in December 1953

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at the feast given in honour of the visiting royal couple in Tonga in December 1953

The Queen and Prince Philip leave Parliament House in Wellington after the Queen opened the New Zealand Parliament in January 1954

The Queen and Prince Philip leave Parliament House in Wellington after the Queen opened the New Zealand Parliament in January 1954

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wave to crowds from the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji, in December 1953

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip wave to crowds from the balcony of the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva, Fiji, in December 1953

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on the bridge of the SS Gothic as they leave Bluff Harbour in New Zealand in January 1954

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip on the bridge of the SS Gothic as they leave Bluff Harbour in New Zealand in January 1954

The Queen wears her Coronation gown as she arriving to open Ceylon's Parliament in Colombo in what is now Sri Lanka, in April 1954

The Queen wears her Coronation gown as she arriving to open Ceylon’s Parliament in Colombo in what is now Sri Lanka, in April 1954

The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh in their horse drawn carriage in Hamilton, Bermuda, during their tour in November 1953

The Queen with the Duke of Edinburgh in their horse drawn carriage in Hamilton, Bermuda, during their tour in November 1953

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh drive into Kingston's Sabina Park in Jamaica standing in a Land Rover in November 1953

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh drive into Kingston’s Sabina Park in Jamaica standing in a Land Rover in November 1953

The Queen visits the halt of Fielding on her way with Prince Philip from Primerston North to New Plymouth in New Zealand in 1953

The Queen visits the halt of Fielding on her way with Prince Philip from Primerston North to New Plymouth in New Zealand in 1953

The Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh go down to the glow-worm grotto during their visit to Waitomo in New Zealand in 1953

The Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh go down to the glow-worm grotto during their visit to Waitomo in New Zealand in 1953

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh drive to the Grand Pacific Hotel escorted by Fijian torch bearers in December 1953

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh drive to the Grand Pacific Hotel escorted by Fijian torch bearers in December 1953

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