|CONTROVERSY: Buckingham Palace is threatening to take legal action over the footage showing the Queen performing a "Nazi salute" as a little girl [PA ]|
BUCKINGHAM Palace could sue over the shocking leaked film showing the Queen doing a Nazi salute as a little girl.
The Palace is determined to find out how the 17-second black and white footage fell into the hands of The Sun newspaper.
The Royal Household is trying to root out who is responsible for the leak and why the video was given to the tabloid.
Buckingham Palace say the family film – recorded six years before the start of the Second World War – was “exploited”.
An investigation will focus on whether criminal activity was involved in obtaining the footage.
The probe will also consider whether copyright was breached.Cops will be called if it emerges the film was stolen from the Royal Archives, kept at Windsor Castle.
“Access to the Royal Archives is rare and covered by confidentiality agreements,” a source revealed.
|HISTORIC: The Queen (right) aged seven with her sister, Princess Margaret, then two in 1933. Four years later, her uncle King Edward VIII and wife Wallis Simpson are pictured meeting Hitler. [PA]|
The Sun has refused to name its source but says it was handed a copy of the footage filmed several years ago.
The original film is said to remain “under lock and key”.
But royal sources believe it is “inconceivable” that loyal archive workers would have leaked the video.
It is believed the footage could have been mistakenly given to film-makers for a future documentary.
“This probably happened when somebody was releasing some footage to a television company and somebody at the Royal archive didn’t see it could be misinterpreted or else didn’t check carefully for what was in it,” said one insider.
Apparently shot in 1933, the grainy film shows the Queen, then aged six, playing in the gardens of Balmoral with her sister, Princess Margaret.
The Queen Mum is first to do the salute, before young Liz copies her.
Her uncle, Prince Edward – who was accused of being a Nazi sympathiser – also performs the gesture.
A Palace source said: "Most people will see these pictures in their proper context and time."
"This is a family playing and momentarily referencing a gesture many would have seen from contemporary news reels.
"No one at that time had any sense how it would evolve.
“To imply anything else is misleading and dishonest.
"The Queen is around six years of age at the time and entirely innocent of attaching any meaning to these gestures.
"The Queen and her family's service and dedication to the welfare of this nation during the war, and the 63 years the Queen has spent building relations between nations and peoples speaks for itself."
The Sun – which splashed on the story with the headline “Their Royal Heilnesses” – has defended its decision to publish the footage.
It sparked an online backlash as thousands blasted the newspaper for running the story.
But managing editor Stig Abell insisted the footage was obtained by the newspaper "in a legitimate fashion" and that its publication was "not a criticism of the Queen or the Queen Mum".