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Private family footage of the Queen as a child released to mark 94th birthday

Leon Neal

By Laura Elston, PA Court Reporter

The royal family have shared touching private family footage of the Queen as a carefree young princess to mark the monarch’s 94th birthday.

Behind-the-scenes archive film from the Royal Collection Trust shows Princess Elizabeth playing with a pram as a toddler, as a happy young girl on a seesaw, and skipping and jumping around a garden with her younger sister, Princess Margaret.

It also shows her delight as she sits on a horse, and she is seen dancing on a yacht with Margaret, in matching outfits, as they learn dance steps from their mother, Queen Elizabeth.

The royal family’s Twitter account said: “To those of you also celebrating your birthdays today at home, with or without your loved ones – we send you many happy returns.”

It thanked the public for its birthday messages and wished the Queen a happy birthday.

The Queen is with her husband of 72 years, the Duke of Edinburgh, at Windsor Castle in Berkshire with a reduced household for their protection.

Like the rest of the nation, the royals are staying away from one another as they follow the social distancing rules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Family members are expected to be telephoning and video-calling the Queen privately to deliver their birthday messages.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are at Anmer Hall in Norfolk with their children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

Their Kensington Palace social media accounts shared birthday congratulations for William’s grandmother.

They wished the monarch a happy birthday alongside a picture of William and Kate showing the Queen around the duchess’s garden at the Chelsea Flower Show last year.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall’s Twitter account also sent birthday wishes, with a collection of touching archive photos of Charles and his mother.

Charles, who has recovered from the Covid-19 illness, is at Birkhall in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, with Camilla, while the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex are all in their own separate homes around the country.

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, who have quit as working royals, are thousands of miles away in Los Angeles with their baby son, Archie Mountbatten-Windsor.

The eight-hour time difference means they will be speaking to the Queen later on Tuesday to wish her happy birthday.

The bells of Westminster Abbey – the church where the Queen was married and crowned – will stay silent on her birthday for the first time in more than a decade.

The abbey is currently closed, meaning the celebratory peal which has taken place in her honour on her actual birthday – April 21 – every year since 2007, will not be able to go ahead.

There will also be no birthday gun salutes for what is believed to be the first time, at the Queen’s request.