In the footage, which seems to be film from the royal archives that was somehow spirited out over 80 years after its creation, Prince Edward romps with Elizabeth, her sister Margaret, and their mother (later known as the Queen Mother) on the grounds of Balmoral.
Edward, Elizabeth, and the Queen Mother give very clear Nazi salutes in the film.
"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 royal spokesperson told CNN.
The footage is historically important—Prince Edward later became King Edward VIII and abdicated to marry American divorcée Wallis Simpson, their story re-told in the 2011 film "W.E." While that film argued that Edward's reputation as a Nazi sympathizer (he once said Adolf Hitler was "not a bad chap"), his interest in Hitler would seem to have rubbed off on his family in the home movie, even if they could not have surmised how Hitler's regime would play out.
Edward is known to have saluted Hitler, but this footage is the only imagery documenting him making the salute.
While there is no suggestion or indication that Queen Elizabeth II, now 89, her sister, or their mother were ever supporters of Hitler, the image of them giving the salute is disturbing. The Sun, which originally published the images, has issued a clarification as to why it felt compelled to do so:
"These images have lain hidden for 82 years. We publish them today, knowing they do not reflect badly on our Queen, her late sister or mother in any way. They do, however, provide a fascinating insight into the warped prejudices of Edward VIII and his friends in that bleak, paranoid, tumultuous decade. The rest of the Royal archive from that period, of similarly immense interest to historians and the public, is still hidden."
[Creds: Max Mumby/Getty Images & Sun]
If the Queen does another Nazi Salute let me know about it. Until then...she was 7 and it didn't even have it's eventual context. Not news.— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) July 18, 2015