Queen Elizabeth doesn’t deserve this sickening Nazi smear

The Sun's footage of a 7 year old Princess Elizabeth, apparently being taught the ‘Nazi Salute’ by her uncle, was filmed at an age when she could have no knowledge of the meaning of her actions. The headline, “Their Royal Heilnesses” is one of the nastiest pieces of insinuation ever published against the monarchy

1945-05-08-v-day
Loyal servant: Elizabeth with the Queen Mother and Winston Churchill
Steven_george-hilley
Steven George-Hilley
On 18 July 2015 19:30

At 89 years of age, and after so many decades of dedicated, loyal service to our country and her people, one would think that the magnificent Queen Elizabeth II would be respected and protected by our national media.

Saturday's deeply unpleasant front page splash in The Sun newspaper accompanied by the headline, “Their Royal Heilnesses” is as tasteless as it is unfair to Britain and the Commonwealth’s most committed public servant.

It also trivialises Nazism, reducing its legacy to opportunistic fodder to be played with by shallow, unprincipled journalists working for failing and fading old media outlets.

We are told that the publication of private family footage is very much in the public interest, a legal defence often used to mask vicious personal attacks and unfair, misleading journalism.

The justification for the publication is the alleged sympathy for the Nazi cause expressed by her Uncle, King Edward VIII. Yet it is the names and faces of Queen Elizabeth and the late Queen Mother that are prominent throughout the piece.

I am a passionate believer in free speech and offensive, controversial journalism, but my criticism of this story comes more from its tone and the image it leaves behind than the subject matter itself.

Without clear context -- the nature of the film and the innocence of Elizabeth as a mere child performing for the camera over 82 years ago -- the story risks tainting everything the Queen has achieved for our country.

Even as The Sun -- a pale shadow of its former self as a newspaper of influence -- tried to worm its way out of the scandal, the fact remains that it is the picture and the disgraceful headline that will stick in people's memories.

To a significant degree, it was the courage and leadership shown by George VI, The Queen Mother and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret during the Second World War which kept our country strong and free from evil.

Princess Elizabeth joined the Women’s Auxiliary Territorial Service, supporting our troops when she could have been safely tucked away out of danger.

It was on Victory in Europe Day that the Princesses mingled anonymously with the celebratory crowds in the streets of London.

Yet, for all her resilience, there must be times when our beloved Queen wonders why some of the papers and the people treat her so badly.

As she prepares for her 90th birthday next year, we should all remember her unwavering service to our people and to our country.

Showing her the respect she deserves and sheltering her from character assassination in the national press is the very least we can do in return for all that she has done for us.

Steven George-Hilley is Associate Editor of The Commentator and a director at the Parliament Street think tank. @StevenGeorgia

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