Why Nazi salute images are of interest

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Is it a matter of public interest that the Queen, as a six-year-old Princess Elizabeth in 1933, was filmed giving a Nazi salute (your report, 20 July)?

It could be argued that little credence should be given to the antics of a very young girl who, in the privacy of a family gathering, made a gesture some considered fashionable at the time.

The spectres at the feast, however, are the then Edward, Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII for more than ten months till his abdication); the Duchess of York (later Queen Elizabeth during the Second World War and Queen Mother) and her husband, later King George VI, who almost certainly filmed the family event.

It is their attitude to the salute, and, indeed, the attitude of the British aristocracy to an emerging fascism in Germany and elsewhere that should continue to be of interest to historians.

It is interesting to ponder about the effect on public opinion if the film had been available in the turbulent 1930s.

For that reason alone The Sun was correct to publish the footage.

It would be wrong to say the aristocracy’s flirtation with Nazism was universal.

Winston Churchill came from an aristocratic background.

His voice against appeasement and disarmament in that period was distinct.

Strangely, he remained a strong personal, if not political, supporter of Edward VIII during the abdication crisis, and when, as Duke of Windsor, the latter was in exile.

This was despite the King’s well publicised pro-German sympathies and, indeed, a visit with his wife to see Adolf Hitler as Chancellor in 1937.

What might have happened in terms of Britain’s security if that King had not abdicated is a matter of conjecture. But the film footage at Balmoral provides historians with just a little bit more information to help form a judgment.

Bob Taylor

Shiel Court

Glenrothes

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