Rare Footage Documents Queen Elizabeth's Coming of Age During Second World War

Rare archive footage tells the story of a young Princess Elizabeth’s ‘coming of age’ during the Second World War. As the Commonwealth endures the coronavirus pandemic, the Queen has made comparisons between the current crisis and the hardship of the war years.

Elizabeth was just 13 when war broke out in 1939, but went on to become the first female member of the royal family to serve in the armed forces in 1945.

Fascinating video clips chart her growing role in the war effort, from her first radio broadcast addressing child evacuees in 1940, to her appearance on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the VE Day celebrations in 1945.

Not everyone knows the full extent of Elizabeth’s role in the final year of the war. The heir presumptive was granted a commission as an honorary second subaltern in the Auxiliary Territorial Service (ATS) on 24 February 1945. During her service, the princess learned how to repair vehicle engines as a mechanic in her unit.

The monarch’s position as a driver and mechanic during the war is being explored in a documentary airing at 9pm on Wednesday 22 April on ITV, titled Our Queen at War.

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