Queen Nazi Salute
The Sun has published a film of Queen Elizabeth performing Nazi salute as young girl. Sun

Buckingham Palace has reacted angrily after The Sun published footage of the Queen performing a Nazi salute when she was a young girl.

The black-and-white footage, thought to have been shot in 1933, shows the monarch aged six or seven with the Queen Mother, her uncle Prince Edward, and sister Princess Margret.

The 17-second home movie shot in the garden of Balmoral shows the royals raising their right arms straight in salute to the camera six years before the start of the Second World War , according to the Sun.

Buckingham Palace criticised the newspaper for releasing the footage that was obtained from the family's private archive.

"It is disappointing that film, shot eight decades ago and apparently from her majesty's personal family archive, has been obtained and exploited in this manner," a palace spokesman said.

The palace did not deny that the footage was authentic, but said that here were "questions over how this video has been released".

An unnamed 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 newsreels. 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 defends its decision to publish the video saying that its focus was not on the young child who would become queen, but on her uncle, who was then heir to the throne.

The paper said: "Elizabeth and Margaret are kids. Families of all kinds larked around apeing the stiff-armed antics of the faintly comic character with the Charlie Chaplin moustache who won power in Germany." But Edward, it said, "was already a fan of Hitler – and remained so as late as 1970, long after the Holocaust's horrors were laid bare".

Edward, who later became King Edward VIII and abdicated to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson, faced numerous accusations of being a Nazi sympathiser.

He once gave a Nazi salute to Hitler and claimed he was "not a bad chap", according to the Mail.

Edward and Wallis were photographed meeting Hitler in Munich in October 1937, less than two years before the Second World War broke out, according to the Sun.

The royals filmed performing the salute were not the only high-profile British citizen's to perform the salute in before the war. In 1938, the English football team did so in unison before the start of a friendly game against Germany in Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

The footballers' action was criticised because Hitler, by then, had annexed Austria and his anti-Jewish measures were already advanced.

In the years leading to the Second World War the Nazi party enjoyed a great deal of support amongst the British aristocracy.