What were they thinking?

The Sun newspaper in England has been accused of exploitation after it published pictures from an eighty-year-old video of the Queen and her family.

In the grainy video, young Elizabeth is seen in the gardens of Balmoral playing with her sister Margaret. The Queen Mother then makes a Nazi salute and, after glancing towards her mother, Elizabeth mimics the gesture. The Queen Mother repeats the salute, joined by Edward, and Margaret raises her left hand before the two children continue dancing and playing on the grass.

The paper ran a still image from the film of the future Queen giving a Nazi salute on the front page of today’s paper, and released the film on its website.

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Buckingham Palace says the paper has exploited footage that seems to have come from the Queen’s personal archives.

A palace spokesman told The Guardian: “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.”

“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.”

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The Sun claimed  it published the pictures not to draw attention to the Queen but to her Uncle Edward, future heir to the throne, who was accused of being a Nazi sympathiser.

Edward abdicated to marry American socialite Wallis Simpson. The couple was photographed meeting Hitler in Munich in October 1937, less than two years before the second world war broke out.

Do you think it was wrong of the Sun to publish these images?