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Controversy over film showing Royal Family Nazi salute

The UK tabloid newspaper The Sun has run an exclusive story on Friday, including a 17 second film from the 1930s in which the Queen Mother and Princess Elizabeth raise their arms in a Nazi salute.

Six or seven-year-old Princess Elizabeth is mimicking the greeting performed by her mother and uncle, Prince Edward, who briefly reigned as King Edward VIII.

The Sun quoted a London academic describing this film as an “important historical document”. Buckingham Palace has said it is “disappointed”. The footage was eight decades old, taken before the outbreak of the Second World War. The palace said the footage had been “exploited”.

The newspaper refused to reveal from where it obtained the clip.

King Edward VIII has repeatedly been alleged to have sympathies with Nazism. As Duke of Windsor he held close ties with German aristocrat and anti-Semite Charles Edward Duke of Coburg and visited Germany in 1937 together with his wife, Wallis Simpson.

The Guardian claimed in 2002 that it has seen 227 pages of FBI intelligence reports, which revealed that the duchess was passing on secret information to the Nazi’s foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, with whom she was suspected to have an affair.

The Guardian suggested that the true reason why King Edward VIII abdicated in 1936 was related to his wife’s close ties to Nazi Germany, which had become unacceptable at the time.

The Sun admits that Queen Elizabeth herself was too young to understand the gesture.

A palace source told the BBC, that “the 63 years the Queen has spent building relations between nations and peoples speaks for itself”. In June, the Queen had visited a concentration camp in Germany.

The Sun front page

The Sun front page on Saturday, 18 Jul 2015

Elisabeth Brahier

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