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Queen Elizabeth on sleigh ride with Prince Philip in unseen footage


The Queen Unseen will air on ITV tonight (Picture: ITV/ Factual Fiction)

Never before seen footage of Queen Elizabeth relaxing by a pool and enjoying a sleigh ride with husband Prince Philip will air in a new documentary tonight.

The Queen Unseen will give viewers an intimate insight into Her Majesty’s life ahead of her 95th birthday on April 21.

The documentary will show the monarch and her family away from royal duties and hear from those who knew her best.

Ahead of it airing, footage has emerged from 1953 showing a young Queen Elizabeth enjoying downtime with New Zealand Governor-General at the time, Sir Willoughby Norrie, and his family.

The footage was shot by Norrie’s wife Patricia, as the monarch and Prince Philip enjoyed Christmas Day at the Governor-General’s private home, lounging by the pool.

The Queen had been crowned earlier in the year and she and Philip were said to have relished the chance for some time to relax.

The Queen and Prince Philip take a traditional sleigh ride during their Canadian Tour in 1951 (Picture: ITV/ Factual Fiction)
A young Queen films with a Cine camera at the home of the Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Willoughby Norrie, on Christmas Day, 1953 (Picture: ITV/ Factual Fiction)

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

Father Christmas delivered presents for the royals to take home to their then young children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

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 amusement as it had his wife’s head on it.

According to Mrs Stevenson, Philip enjoyed playing in the pool and tried several times to get on the lilo.

The Queen at Windsor Castle in 1992 with a cow called Elizabeth (Picture: ITV/ Factual Fiction)
A young Queen Elizabeth at the house of Governor General of New Zealand, Sir Willoughby Norrie on Christmas Day in 1953 (Picture: ITV/ Factual Fiction)

The Queen, mindful of her public image, didn’t join in, but happily watched from the patio with a video camera in hand.

In one picture, a young Queen can be seen wearing a summer dress with yellow stripes, her hair curled and pinned back neatly, wearing stylish gold rimmed sunglasses and holding a Cine Camera.

The documentary will also include the first colour images taken of the Queen during a tour in Canada in 1951, when the monarch and her husband took a traditional sleigh ride.

Filmed in colour for a movie called Royal Journey, it was the first colour feature film made in Canada

The Queen and Prince Philip took a traditional sleigh ride filmed in colour for a movie called Royal Journey (Picture: ITV/ Factual Fiction)

The Queen Unseen will also include footage of her first trip to a communist country to meet with then President Tito in Belgrade in 1972.

Another shot shows the Queen with seven-month-old Prince Andrew as a baby at Balmoral in 1960.

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.

The documentary hopes to paint a clearer picture of the Queen, who has managed to remain enigmatic throughout her life despite being one of the most recognisable people in the world.

The Queen Unseen will air on ITV, Thursday April 8, at 9pm.

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