Kate, the Princess of Wales, has released a “really special” photo of the late Queen, as the Royal Family prepares to celebrate the first Christmas without her. Members of the Firm will attend the traditional Christmas service at St Mary Magdalene Church on Sunday morning. It is the first time since 2019 that the Royal Family are celebrating the festive period at their Norfolk Estate.
The royal standard is flying above the house, marking a return to the festive tradition.
Prior to today’s service, some members of the Royal Family attended the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas event on December 15th, which was broadcast by ITV last night
In a pre-recorded video that was aired during the concert, the Princess of Wales shared a rare photo of a young Elizabeth with some specially invited guests.
The Princess of Wales is filmed sitting with three members of the public – midwife Carys Hammond, 39, volunteer Akbar Khan, 50, and Ex-Veteran Lionel Digby, 87.
All three were invited as a reward for having gone “above and beyond” to help their communities this year.
The guests are shown sharing special pictures from past Christmas festivities with the Princess of Wales.
Kate then proceeds to delight her invitees by revealing a black-and-white image of a young Elizabeth participating in a Christmas performance.
She said: “It really resonated with me seeing her majesty here doing the production on Christmas Day during the Second World War, which I thought was really special.”
Carys said: “She looks really happy doesn’t she?”
Kate continued: “I can remember doing this sort of thing as a little girl too.
“When I saw this photograph, it’s wonderful now, I see my children’s love for doing this sort of thing, putting on little shows for us.”
The archive picture is believed to show the Queen alongside Princess Margaret and two others.
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The group were rehearsing for a performance of Aladdin, the Christmas pantomime performed at Windsor Castle in 1943.
The Queen’s Governess Marion ‘Crawfie’ Crawford wrote of the picture in her memoir: “The pantomime went off very well. I have never known Lilibet more animated.
“There was a sparkle about her none of us had ever seen before.”
Christmas pantomimes were performed at Windsor between 1941 and 1944, the first being Cinderella, in which both Princesses had leading roles.
The pantomimes were staged in the Waterloo Chamber and were both written and produced by Hubert Tannar, Headmaster of the Royal School in Windsor Great Park.
The performers included local children (some evacuees) and friends of the Princesses, with occasional help from service personnel based in the Windsor area.
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There was always an enthusiastic audience, and all monies raised from the admission charge went to the Wool Fund, to supply knitting wool for the making of comforters for the armed forces.
The Royal Collection Trust also has a photo acquired by Princess Margaret that shows the two sisters performing in the show.
In the photo, Princess Elizabeth sits on a Chinese ornamental chair wearing a costume for the performance of Aladdin and faces a male actor or director wearing evening suit, seated to the left.
To the right stands Princess Margaret dressed as Princess Roxana holding a fan.