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The Queen as you've never seen her before

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 07/04/2021 Rebecca English for the Daily Mail and Mark Duell and Jessica Green For Mailonline
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He served with distinction in the Royal Navy and was mentioned in dispatches, but a humble lilo proved to be Prince Philip's downfall.

This extraordinary footage and pictures are taken from candid home movie videos - never seen in public before - of the young Queen and her husband off duty at Christmas in 1953.

It was shot by Patricia Norrie, the wife of the then Governor-General of New Zealand, Sir Willoughby Norrie, who was hosting the couple on the local leg of a gruelling seven-month Commonwealth tour. 

It now features along with footage of the Queen smiling in a fascinating documentary, The Queen Unseen, to be shown tonight on ITV1 at 9pm, marking the monarch's 95th birthday later this month. 

The video also sees the Duke of Edinburgh pulling the Norries' daughter, ten-year-old Sarah Stephenson, along on the lilo - who narrates what happens in a trailer for the programme. 

The trip had proved a gruelling one for the young monarch, who had been crowned earlier in the year, and she and Philip were said to have relished the chance for a little downtime.

According to Ms Stephenson, it was 'terribly exciting' to have the royal party staying at their home and the royals mucked in with the rest of the family.

In a 30-second preview clip released this morning, narrated by Mrs Stephenson, she said: 'The Duke of Edinburgh is trying to get on this lilo, and he has to have several attempts.

a person standing posing for the camera: A young Queen filming with a Cine Camera at an outdoor swimming pool on Christmas Day 1953. Taking a break from the gruelling seven-month Commonwealth tour, she and Philip stayed with New Zealand's Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie

A young Queen filming with a Cine Camera at an outdoor swimming pool on Christmas Day 1953. Taking a break from the gruelling seven-month Commonwealth tour, she and Philip stayed with New Zealand's Governor General, Sir Willougby Norrie
© Provided by Daily Mail

How Army officer Sir Willoughby Norrie led with distinction and once caught a 2,225lb shark

Sir Willoughby Norrie was an Army officer and general born in London in 1893 who saw active service during the First World War, winning the Military Cross in 1915 and Distinguished Service Order in 1919. He married Jocelyn Helen Gosling in 1921 but she died in 1938.

Sir Willoughby then married his second wife Patricia Merryweather Bainbridge in London in the same year and commanded the 1st Armoured Brigade when the Second World War broke out in 1939, also leading the XXX Corps in North Africa in 1941.

By 1943 he held the post of Major General, Royal Armoured Corps, but retired the following year after accepting the governorship of South Australia.

Within his first two years in Adelaide he had visited 300 schools, every local government area and mining district in his attempts to keep the 'Empire spirit alive'.

In 1952 he left to become Governor-General of New Zealand, until 1957. He then retired and claimed his greatest achievement was catching a 2,225lb (1009kg) shark with a rod and reel off Port Lincoln.

He died in 1977 in Wantage, Oxfordshire, and was survived by his wife and their son and two daughters, and by the son and daughter of his first marriage.

'The royal couple knew that we were filming, and they didn't seem to mind that we were. And the Queen also had an identical camera to my mother. She was also taking similar shots. 

'That was the Queen's smile, which my mum very cleverly caught. Great fun, we loved it.'

Father Christmas delivered presents from them to take home to their young children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

And Sir Willoughby and his wife even gave the Queen and Philip a stocking each - containing a dog's lead for the Queen and a blue and white Wedgwood ashtray for Philip, which caused much amusement as it had his wife's head on it.

After lunch they went to the private pool along with the Queen equerry at the time, Johnny Spencer, later Earl Spencer and father of Princess Diana.

According to Mrs Stephenson, towering Philip - wearing tiny dark 'budgie smuggler' swimming shorts - tried several times to get on the lilo, but each time plunged into the pool roaring with laughter.

Always mindful of her public image, Queen didn't join in, but happily watched her husband from the patio, her own video camera in hand, comfortable to film and be filmed.

Mrs Stephenson said: 'Well, it was terribly exciting to have the whole royal party staying in your home.

'There was one time actually, when my sister and I were taking our dogs for a walk and the Queen saw us and she said she wish she could come with us.

'Father Christmas was approaching with lots of presents for Prince Charles and Princess Anne, who were very young, they were in England, so it must have been very difficult for the Queen and the Duke to leave their children behind for such a long trip.

'My parents gave the Queen and the Duke a Christmas stocking each, and in the Queen's stocking there was a dog lead, and in the Duke's stocking there was a blue and white ash tray. 

'And my father said, the Duke will be pleased because it's got his wife's head on it. He thought that was terribly funny.

'This was a private pool we took the royal party to on Christmas Day. There's my father with the Queen.' 

a person throwing a frisbee: A young Queen joins the family at the outdoor swimming pool on Christmas Day 1953. The rare and unseen private home movie gives get a glimpse of the young Queen and her husband Philip off duty - and it is due to air on ITV at 9pm tonight

A young Queen joins the family at the outdoor swimming pool on Christmas Day 1953. The rare and unseen private home movie gives get a glimpse of the young Queen and her husband Philip off duty - and it is due to air on ITV at 9pm tonight
© Provided by Daily Mail

How Sarah Stephenson married Eton-educated Lieutenant Colonel and lives in the Peak District

The Honourable Sarah Merryweather Norrie - later Sarah Stephenson - was the second child of Sir Willoughby Norrie and his second wife Patricia Norrie, and was born on June 27, 1943.

She had an older brother, Lieutenant Colonel The Honourable Guy Bainbridge Norrie, born on May 3, 1940; and a younger sister, The Honourable Annabel Mary Adelaide Norrie, born on December 23, 1945.

Sarah married Eton-educated Charles Lyon Stephenson, son of Lieutenant Colonel Charles Eustace Kenyon Stephenson and Nancy Barbara Lyon, in 1974.

Sarah was the second wife of Charles Lyon, who divorced his first wife Margot Tinker in 1972.

Charles Lyon and Margot Tinker had three children - George Stephenson, born in 1962; Belinda Stephenson, born in 1963; and Rupert Stephenson, born in 1964.

Sarah and Charles Lyon are not thought to have had any children. The couple were most recently listed in 2018 as living in a picturesque cottage in the Peak District near the town of Bakewell, Derbyshire.

Charles Lyon, who gained the rank of Major in the Royal Yeomanry Regiment, was also managing director of Stephenson Blake (Holdings) Ltd, an engineering company based in Sheffield, and later Thomas Turton and Sons which bought the firm.

He currently has three active appointments listed on Companies House, with firms called Hotel and Catering Staff Supplies; which places seasonal workers in the hotel and restaurant industries; Kestrel Travel Consultancy; and HCSS Realisations.

ITV's The Queen Unseen features a host of rare home movie footage, hoping to shed new light on our most enigmatic of monarchs.

With almost 70 years of royal globe trotting under her belt, the Queen is the country's most experienced international statesman.

And her skills were most definitely needed when she visited Belgrade in 1972 after the Yugoslav dictator Marshal Tito personally asked to meet her to mark his 80th birthday.  

Footage shot by Tito's personal cameraman shows the monarch, on her first visit to a communist country, charming her host.

Among the light-hearted moments is the time they shared a golf buggy together - and even an orange.

The Queen is rarely seen on camera eating - she very much disapproves of that - but happily tucked into a piece of fruit and offered her host a segment.  

The visit was considered a rousing success.

Broadcaster Wesley Kerr tells the documentary: 'Britain absolutely has been well served by the Queen in terms of her mastery of diplomacy, the absence of slip-ups.'

Another shot shows the Queen with seven-month-old Prince Andrew as a baby at Balmoral in 1960, one of the first colour pictures taken of the young royal.

The documentary also highlights the Queen's 40-year friendship with New Zealand dairy farmer Don Ferguson, with whom she co-owned a herd of Jersey cows after meeting him at an agricultural show in 1975.

He would regularly ring the Queen and let her know if their animals had won any prizes at the various cattle shows he attended.

On a visit to the country in 1990, the monarch made a point of detouring to visit him - and her cows.

Mr Ferguson's widow, June, recalled how when visiting the paddock the monarch referred to her husband's bad language. Mrs Ferguson noted that Philip 'swears like a trooper'.

She says the Queen remarked to Mr Ferguson that 'all husbands swear, don't they?', which made Mrs Ferguson laugh as her husband barely uttered a curse in his life.

Meanwhile in other royal news, the Royal Collection Trust has announced visitors to Buckingham Palace this summer will be able to picnic in its garden and explore the open space by themselves for the first time.

The traditional summer opening of the palace's state rooms and themed exhibition, which normally welcomes thousands, has been cancelled for a second year due to the effects of the pandemic.  

But self-guided garden tours will be on offer from July to September, giving the paying public the chance to wander through the Queen's private 39-acre site and discover the wildlife-rich oasis in the heart of London. 

Elizabeth II wearing a uniform posing for a photo: A young Queen with President Tito in Belgrade in 1972. The image shows a light-hearted moment for the Queen and President Tito during her first visit to a communist country. During her stay, informal footage captured them in off-guard moments

A young Queen with President Tito in Belgrade in 1972. The image shows a light-hearted moment for the Queen and President Tito during her first visit to a communist country. During her stay, informal footage captured them in off-guard moments
© Provided by Daily Mail

Queen visited Belgrade after leader asked to meet her for his birthday 

The Queen visited Belgrade in 1972 after the Yugoslav dictator Marshal Tito personally asked to meet her to mark his 80th birthday.

It came nearly two decades after Marshal Tito became the first communist leader to visit a Western country in 1953, which marked the start of friendly relations between the two countries.

The Queen was given a warm welcome to Belgrade with thousands of Yugoslays packing out the streets which were decked in flags. People were standing on paths four to five deep in some points as the Queen and Marshal Tito drove by in an open car from Surcin Airport to the palace on Dedinje Hill where the Queen stayed.

She had been greeted on a red carpet at the airport from Marshal Tito, along with his wife. The Queen spent two days in Belgrade before going on a 780‐mile tour that saw her travel to a series of scenic areas in Yugoslavia.

Its landscape dates back to the 1820s when George IV turned Buckingham House into a palace, and today it is home to a rich biodiverse habitat, with more than 1,000 trees and 320 different wildflowers and grasses.

The garden also houses the national collection of mulberry trees after Mark Lane, the palace's head gardener, was given permission by the Queen to plant a definitive collection of the trees during 2000.

Visitors will be able to explore a route through the garden that takes in its 156-metre long herbaceous border, plane trees planted by and named after Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and views of the island and its beehives across the 3.5-acre lake.

The unique opportunity to enjoy a picnic on one of the sweeping lawns will be part of the visit.

On weekends in April and May, guided tours of the garden will be available when the public can enjoy the open space during springtime, with its meadows carpeted with primroses and bluebells, and flowering magnolia and azalea shrubs and trees.

From May to September, small guided tours of the palace will begin, featuring many of the palace's magnificent State Rooms, furnished with treasures of the Royal Collection, including paintings by Franz Xaver Winterhalter, Sevres porcelain and some of the finest English and French furniture in the world. From July, access to the garden will be included in the visit.

As restrictions ease, the RCT shops in London will reopen from Monday, while the Palace of Holyroodhouse and the new exhibition Victoria & Albert: Our Lives in Watercolour at the Queen's Gallery, Edinburgh, will open from April 26.

Windsor Castle and the exhibition Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, will welcome visitors from May 17.

The Queen Unseen is on ITV1 tonight at 9pm 

How Queen covered 44,000 miles during her longest ever Commonwealth tour which saw her visit Bermuda, New Zealand, Uganda and Australia over six months 

The Queen’s reign began with her longest ever Commonwealth tour, lasting six months from November 1953 to May 1954 and covering 44,000 miles across the West Indies, Australasia, Asia and Africa.

The countries visited were Bermuda and Jamaica in November 1953, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand in December 1953; Australia in February 1954, Cocos Islands, Ceylon, Aden and Uganda in April 1954, and Malta and Gibraltar in May 1954.

The Queen, whose coronation was in June 1953, initially flew to Bermuda and then to Jamaica, before boarding the SS Gothic which she used for the rest of her tour. Thousands flocked to the River Thames in May 1954 to see her return. 

The tour featured in Netflix royal drama The Crown - during episode eight of series one, which also depicts some of the Queen's advisers suggesting beforehand that she was not ready for such a big diplomatic endeavor. 

Here is a series of photographs of visits the Queen made with the Duke of Edinburgh during the Commonwealth tour: 

Elizabeth II standing in front of a crowd: The Queen and Prince Philip return to Government House after attending a youth rally in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 1953

The Queen and Prince Philip return to Government House after attending a youth rally in Auckland, New Zealand, in December 1953
© Provided by Daily Mail
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