Just like Gan-Gan: Kate says rare photo of the-then Princess Elizabeth rehearsing as Aladdin for a wartime Palace panto reveals where George, Charlotte and Louis’ love for ‘putting on little shows for us’ comes from

  • Kate unveiled a rare black and white photograph of a young Queen Elizabeth II
  • In the black and white picture, the then-Princess prepared for a Christmas panto
  • She performed alongside Princess Margaret during World War Two
  • Kate shared the photo during a broadcast of her Christmas Eve carol service 

The Princess of Wales tonight shared a rare image of Queen Elizabeth as a young girl preparing for a Christmas panto, revealing her own children inherited Her Majesty’s love of ‘putting on little shows’.

In the black and white picture, the then-Princess stood alongside Princess Margaret and another girl and a man, all preparing for a Christmas pantomime of Aladdin.

The performance took place during World War Two, meaning the late Queen was still a teenager in the happy picture.

Kate said during the broadcast of her Christmas Eve carol service: ‘It really resonated with me seeing Her Majesty here doing the production on Christmas Day during the Second World War, which I thought was really special.

‘I can remember doing this sort of thing as a little girl too.

‘When I saw this photograph, it’s wonderful now, I see my children’s love for doing this sort of thing, putting on little shows for us.’ 

The Princess of Wales said often her own children will ask her to watch them perform and eventually invite her to ‘join in’. She said they will often dance around the table as a family. 

In the black and white picture, the then-Princess stood alongside Princess Margaret and another girl and a man, all preparing for a Christmas pantomime

The Princess of Wales tonight shared a rare image of Queen Elizabeth as a young girl, during the broadcast of her Christmas Eve carol service

It’s understood in the image, the trio were rehearsing to perform Aladdin, in which Princess Elizabeth had been cast in the titular role.

A young Prince Philip is also said to have been in the crowd watching his future wife in the show.

One report suggests shortly after that encounter, Elizabeth’s grandmother sent correspondence which noted the pair had fallen in love. 

The Queen’s Governess Marion ‘Crawfie’ Crawford said in her memoirs: ‘The pantomime went off very well. I have never known Lilibet more animated. There was a sparkle about her none of us had ever seen before.’

The rare images first surfaced in 2013 when they were auctioned, but were brought out again by Princess Kate during her Royal Carols: Together At Christmas programme.

The Prince of Wales, reading an extract from Queen Elizabeth II’s Christmas Message 2012, during the ‘Together at Christmas’ Carol Service at Westminster Abbe

Kate and William shared a sweet moment with their children Prince George and Princess Charlotte as they entered Westminster Abbey

She shared the picture with three members of the public who had gone ‘above and beyond’ this year for their communities; midwife Carys Hammond, 39, volunteer Akbar Khan, 50, and veteran Lionel Digby, 87.

The entire service, which aired on ITV tonight and was narrated by Catherine Zeta Jones, was dedicated to Her late Majesty.

Musician Alexis Ffrench played In The Bleak Midwinter on a grand piano emblazoned with the Queen’s image from different stages of her life and reign.

The event was attended by King Charles III, the Queen Consort and the Prince and Princess of Wales, as well as Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Speaking at the start of the programme, Kate said: ‘This Christmas will be our first without her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth.

‘Her Majesty held Christmas close to her heart as a time that brought us together.’

The event was attended by King Charles III, the Queen Consort and the Prince and Princess of Wales, as well as Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

Princesses Eugenie and Beatrice were also in attendance. 

The event , dedicated to the late Queen Elizabeth II, was attended by King Charles III and Camilla, the Queen Consort

During the service, the Prince of Wales delivered a poignant reading, taken straight from a message his grandmother gave a decade ago.

He said: ‘At Christmas I’m always struck by how the spirit of togetherness lies also at the heart of the Christmas story. 

‘A young mother and a dutiful father with their baby were joined by poor shepherds and visitors from afar. They came with their gifts to worship the Christ Child. 

‘From that day on He has inspired people to commit themselves to the best interests of others. This is the time of year when we remember that God sent His only son to serve, not to be served. 

‘He restored love and service to the centre of our lives in the person of Jesus Christ. It is my prayer this Christmas Day that His example and teaching will continue to bring people together to give the best of themselves in the service of others.’ 

The Queen delivered the same speech as part of a wider broadcast in 2012 from the White Drawing Room at Buckingham Palace. 

It’s not yet clear why Prince William chose this particular extract. In 2012, the Queen celebrated her Diamond Jubilee and described the celebrations at the time as ‘especially memorable for me and my family’.

She said at the time: ‘It was humbling that so many chose to mark the anniversary of a duty which passed to me sixty years ago.’ 

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