Queen Elizabeth II

HM Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022): A life through the lens.

Queen Elizabeth II was Britain's longest-serving sovereign, and the first to live her entire life through the lens of moving image cameras: she was the first true media-age monarch. Her birth in 1926 was heralded by the newsreels, highlights from her wedding in 1947 were screened on BBC television, and her coronation six years later effectively launched the mass television era. As Queen, she migrated the Christmas Message from radio to television in 1957, where it became a permanent fixture in the Christmas Day schedule.

Unlike her predecessors, in the less deferent age that marked her reign she had to get used to being the subject of numerous fictional portraits: in comic or satirical sketches, in sitcoms, in drama and in feature films. She has been incarnated by some of Britain's greatest acting talent, including Claire Foy, Barbara Flynn, Julie Walters, Diana Quick, Emma Thompson, Olivia Coleman and Helen Mirren. Gamely, she even broke new ground for a monarch by playing herself, alongside Daniel Craig's James Bond in an eye-opening filmed segment for the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony, and more recently hosting Paddington Bear for tea at Buckingham Palace to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee.

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Sierra Leone Greets the QueenSierra Leone Greets the Queen

Non-Fiction196121 mins

The Queen and Prince Philip's visit in late 1961, the year Sierra Leone became independent from Britain.

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Royal DestinyRoyal Destiny

Documentary195317 mins

Produced by British Movietone for “Her Majesty’s Central Office of Information”, Royal Destiny traces Queen Elizabeth II’s young life up to her ascension to the throne.

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Governor's Notebook 1Governor's Notebook 1

Amateur film19532 minsSilent Location: Stormont

An unforgettable day for Lady Wakehurst as the glamorous new monarch delights the crowds at Stormont

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Royal Visit to Bearsden June 1965Royal Visit to Bearsden June 1965

Amateur film196511 mins Location: Bearsden

The Queen and Prince Philip enjoy a day out in the Glasgow suburbs in this sumptuous 1960s amateur film, complete with pipe band, flag-waving schoolchildren and very big hats.

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Current affairs197713 mins Location: Bath

A special report looks into the preparations for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee and her subsequent tour of the South West.

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Stranraer Royal Visit 1955Stranraer Royal Visit 1955

Non-Fiction195511 minsSilent Location: Stranraer

Visit Stranraer, Dumfries and Galloway, with a Royal accompaniment as the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh visit in 1955, enjoying an agricultural show and pageant along the way.

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Governor's Notebook 2Governor's Notebook 2

Amateur film19531 minsSilent Location: Belfast

Balmoral show grounds bulge with a frenzy of excited youths. Join them in their pursuit the royal car if you too are eager to get a glimpse of the new monarch.

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A State Visit to Turkey of Queen Elizabeth IIA State Visit to Turkey of Queen Elizabeth II

Documentary197124 mins

The Queen’s seven day tour of Turkey in October 1971 was the first British royal visit to the country since King Edward VIII visited the region in September 1936, three months before he abdicated.

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Day To RememberDay To Remember

Documentary196228 mins Location: Wolverhampton

Wolverhampton's 'day to remember' is 24 May 1962 when enthusiastic crowds line the streets to greet Queen Elizabeth II.

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Life of a QueenLife of a Queen

Biopic196016 mins

The loneliness of the long distance ruler is one of the themes of this film which illustratrates the Queen’s life of travel and official duties across the Commonwealth.

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A Great DayA Great Day

Industry sponsored film196217 mins Location: Llanwern

The most modern, integrated steel works in Europe are at Llanwern, Newport, and they are opened on this “great day” (26/10/1962) by the Queen who is visiting with Prince Philip.

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Royal Visit to the Port of HullRoyal Visit to the Port of Hull

Documentary196910 minsSilent Location: Kingston upon Hull

The official opening of Queen Elizabeth Dock, Hull, by HRH Queen Elizabeth II and HRH Prince Phillip, the Duke of Edinburgh.

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Edinburgh Cine Society Newsreel - Queen at LeithEdinburgh Cine Society Newsreel - Queen at Leith

Amateur film19653 minsSilent Location: Leith

The Queen and Prince Philip arrive in style on the splendid Royal Yacht Britannia to open the 10th Edinburgh International Festival in a glorious amateur film from the 1960s.

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Governor's Notebook 3Governor's Notebook 3

Amateur film19534 minsSilent Location: Coleraine

Delight in this rare colour footage of the Queen as she tours the scenic north coast on the Royal Train.

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Llanelly's Royal DayLlanelly's Royal Day

Amateur film195320 minsSilent Location: Llanelli

The streets are crowded, windows are occupied, and walls are sat on in the beautifully decorated town, as everyone tries to catch a glimpse of the newly crowned Queen.

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Wedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip MountbattenWedding of Princess Elizabeth and Philip Mountbatten

19471 minsSilent

Royal nuptials at Westminster Abbey, attended by the great and good including King George VI and Winston Churchill

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Queen at WiltonQueen at Wilton

Documentary19568 mins Location: Wilton

Pure chemistry for the first visit of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip to the gigantic industrial plant at ICI Wilton

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The Queen's State Visit to IranThe Queen's State Visit to Iran

Documentary196114 mins

2-6 March 1961 saw the Queen and Prince Philip make their first and only state visit to Iran. Their host was Mohammed Reza Pahlavi (1919-80), the Shah of Iran, who had already made an official visit to Britain in 1959.

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Coronation Route 1953Coronation Route 1953

Amateur film19532 minsSilent Location: Green Park

Bunting-clad streets and regal decorations highlight the intricate artistry that went into decorating the iconic Coronation route.

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Royal visits to Northern IrelandRoyal visits to Northern Ireland

Non-Fiction195817 minsSilent Location: Belfast

A regal welcome is extended to royal visitors.

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Welcome to the QueenWelcome to the Queen

Documentary195629 mins Location: Stockton-on-Tees

Beautiful documentary record of the royal visit to Teesside in 1956, shot in gorgeous Kodachrome.

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Norwich - The City in Which We LiveNorwich - The City in Which We Live

Amateur film19513 minsSilent Location: Norwich

Gaeity and pageantry galore in this amateur footage capturing Princess Elizabeth's visit to Norwich during the Festival of Britain celebrations.

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South Shields Silver Jubilee CelebrationsSouth Shields Silver Jubilee Celebrations

Amateur film19776 minsSilent Location: South Shields

One big happy family on the streets of South Shields for the Queen’s Silver Jubilee visit.

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Queen Elizabeth II in PakistanQueen Elizabeth II in Pakistan

Documentary196123 mins

In the middle of a six-week tour of the Indian sub-continent between January and March 1961, the Queen and Prince Philip visited Pakistan and East Pakistan, now Bangladesh.

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Queens Visit to Newcastle 1954: FA Cup Returns 1955Queens Visit to Newcastle 1954: FA Cup Returns 1955

Home movie19545 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

Thousands cheer for the Magpies in the 50s when the FA Cup returns to Newcastle … and a new queen pays Tyneside a visit.

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Royal Visit to OldburyRoyal Visit to Oldbury

Home movie19576 minsSilent Location: Oldbury

The Queen makes a brief visit to the Black Country industrial town of Oldbury and stays just long enough to receive a souvenir.

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Our Coronation DayOur Coronation Day

Home movie195313 minsSilent Location: King's Heath

The 'New Elizabethans': children of King's Heath in Birmingham take to the streets to celebrate a new era with flags and fancy dress.

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Nation Congratulates the DukeNation Congratulates the Duke

Non-Fiction19261 minsSilent

Excited crowds gather to celebrate a new royal arrival - the future Queen Elizabeth II

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Royal MaundyRoyal Maundy

Amateur film198617 mins Location: Chichester

Beefeaters herald the arrival of the Queen at Chichester Cathedral, where she will distribute the Royal Maundy Money.

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Royal Visit to LeithRoyal Visit to Leith

Documentary195613 mins Location: Leith

Colourful commemoration of Royal Yacht Britannia's majestic visit to Leith in 1956, courtesy of Messrs Joseph and J Arthur Rank.

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Prince Charles at PlayPrince Charles at Play

19496 minsSilent Location: Sunningdale

Mischievous baby Charles toys curiously with the necklace of his giggling mother, the future Queen

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Southgate Celebrates The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Southgate (1953)Southgate Celebrates The Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, Southgate (1953)

Non-Fiction195324 mins Location: Southgate

Cowboys, chess and carnival queens in this wonderful colour film made to mark the “new Elizabethan age” in Southgate’s Coronation celebrations in 1953.

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Elizabeth II Coronation CelebrationsElizabeth II Coronation Celebrations

Amateur film19535 minsSilent Location: Royston

Every inch the town, a sea of red, white and blue, as flags and bunting adorn one Hertfordshire town to celebrate the coronation of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

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Welcome to WashingtonWelcome to Washington

Amateur film197712 mins Location: Washington Village

Washington locals get up close and personal with U.S. President Jimmy Carter and the Queen in the year of the Silver Jubilee.

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Britain Welcomes the Emperor and Empress of JapanBritain Welcomes the Emperor and Empress of Japan

Documentary197113 mins

In October 1971 Emperor Hirohito and his wife arrived in Britain for “their historic three day state visit”.

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Britain Welcomes the President of IndiaBritain Welcomes the President of India

196316 mins

This colourful record of the President of India’s visit to Britain was made on behalf of the Commonwealth Relations Office for showing to audiences overseas.

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Britain Welcomes the President of PakistanBritain Welcomes the President of Pakistan

Documentary196615 mins

The visit to Britain of the President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan, began on 17th November 1966 and lasted for 12 days.

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The Queen in SuffolkThe Queen in Suffolk

Sponsored film197719 mins Location: Ipswich

Flag-waving and fanfare in the warm July sunshine for the Silver Jubilee visit of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth to Ipswich and Felixstowe.

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Royal ChildrenRoyal Children

Documentary196119 mins

In spite of the ‘ordinary, happy childhood’ insisted by the commentary, hindsight makes the film a rather poignant experience.

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Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth IISilver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II

Amateur film19772 minsSilent Location: Westminster

Wonderful, colourful scenes of pomp and ceremony as a family enjoy the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations on the Mall.

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The Royal Tour of the CaribbeanThe Royal Tour of the Caribbean

Documentary196629 mins

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh tour the West Indies in February 1966.

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Coronation Day Parade in Newcastle; Trams and TrolleybusesCoronation Day Parade in Newcastle; Trams and Trolleybuses

Amateur film194513 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

A splash of colour in a big Coronation Day parade in Newcastle and an evocative phantom ride through the city after World War Two.

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Woodford Celebrates the CoronationWoodford Celebrates the Coronation

Documentary19532 minsSilent Location: Woodford

A great parade in celebration of the day of Elizabeth II's coronation, complete with a guest appearance from the Prime Minister!

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Queen's Visit to YorkQueen's Visit to York

Amateur film20123 minsSilent Location: York

Queen Elizabeth II is greeted in York by thousands of enthusiastic men, women, and children in this depiction of a 21st Century royal family.

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Departure of Her Majesty the Queen from Ledsham StationDeparture of Her Majesty the Queen from Ledsham Station

Amateur film195710 minsSilent Location: Ledsham

H.M. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh depart from Ledsham station after the royal visit to Ellesmere Port.

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Queen's Silver Jubilee, Whitley BayQueen's Silver Jubilee, Whitley Bay

Home movie19773 minsSilent Location: Whitley Bay

Children of Ocean View in Whitley Bay gather for a feast at a patriotic street party for the Queen's Silver Jubilee.

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Tall Ships: Newcastle Maritime Festival 86Tall Ships: Newcastle Maritime Festival 86

Amateur film19868 minsSilent Location: Newcastle upon Tyne

The Queen visits a magnificent maritime spectacle on the Tyne as Newcastle hosts the Cutty Sark Tall Ships regatta.

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Coronation ProcessionCoronation Procession

Non-Fiction19534 minsSilent Location: Norwich

Local firms took part in Norwich's Coronation parade in 1953. One of the highlights being Laurence Scott's replica of HMS Britannia as it 'cruised' the city streets.

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Princess Elizabeth Thoroughly Enjoys Herself at the Royal TournamentPrincess Elizabeth Thoroughly Enjoys Herself at the Royal Tournament

Non-Fiction19371 mins

Fit for a princess: the future Queen Elizabeth II accompanies her parents to the military tattoo at Olympia, Kensington

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Jubilee NewsreelJubilee Newsreel

Amateur film19776 mins Location: Harrow

Pomp and pageantry reign and St George is resurrected for the Queen's Silver Jubilee in this colourful newsreel from 1977