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June 17, 2020

Rare Photos Show Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret as the Teenage Stars in Private Royal Pantomimes in the 1940s

These photographs were taken between December 1941 and 1944 and show a teenaged Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret, playing various pantomime roles in front of a very privileged audience at Windsor Castle. The performances included Cinderella, Aladdin, and Sleeping Beauty.

A pantomime, or “panto” as it is also known≤ is a mixture of slapstick and music performed across Britain during the holiday season. They are typically based on children’s stories and usually feature male leads played by women (and vice versa), comedic twists and audience participation.

After the outbreak of World War II in 1939, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the current queen’s mother, spent most of their time in London while their daughters remained in Windsor, just outside the capital.

But at Christmas they would return to join a privileged audience at the luxury pantomimes their daughters starred in at the Royal School.

In 1941 Elizabeth, then 15, played Prince Florizel, the male lead, in a pantomime of Cinderella, while 11-year-old Margaret took the title role. The following year the future queen starred as Prince Salvador in Sleeping Beauty with Margaret as Fairy Thistledown.

In 1943 Elizabeth won her first title role in Aladdin with Margaret as Princess Roxana. The next year the royal sisters starred as Lady Christina Sherwood and the Honorable Lucinda Fairfax, respectively, in Old Mother Red Riding Boots.

According to CNN, these fascinating images are owned by the estates of Hubert Tannar, an amateur actor and headmaster of the school the princesses attended, and Cyril Woods, who shared the stage with the young Windsors and became a friend of the future queen during rehearsals.

A very young Princess Elizabeth (left) and Princess Margaret (right) in these two portrait pictures from the play Cinderella, in 1941, at the Royal School, Windsor.

A young Princess Elizabeth (left) stars in the play Cinderella in 1941 at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Margaret (left) and Princess Elizabeth (right) perform in Cinderella in 1941 at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Margaret (left) and Princess Elizabeth (right) with the Queen Mother on the set of the play Cinderella, in 1941.

Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth (left) in the play Cinderella, 1941, at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth in the play Cinderella, 1941, at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Margaret (right) and Princess Elizabeth (middle) are seen in the play Aladdin.

Princess Margaret (right) and Princess Elizabeth (left) performing in the play Cinderella in 1941 at the Royal School in Windsor.

The Queen Mother (left) can be seen talking to princess Margaret who is on stage. The young Princess Elizabeth is stood directly behind her sister in this picture taken in 1941.

The Queen Mother can be seen standing near Princess Margaret (right) on the set of the play Cinderella.

Princess Margaret (middle) and Princess Elizabeth (right) perform on stage outside a mock castle in Windsor.

Princess Margaret (right) and Princess Elizabeth (middle) in the play Cinderella at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Margaret and Cyril Woods in Cinderella in 1941. Cyril formed a lifelong friendship with the Royals and worked for the Crown Estate. He died in 2001.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret perform in Cinderella in 1941 at the Royal School, Windsor.

A small group of people can be seen watching Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth on stage during Cinderella in 1941.

Princess Margaret (centre left) and Princess Elizabeth (centre right) in the play Cinderella. It was the first of four plays they performed in.

Princess Elizabeth (left) and Princess Margaret (right) perform in Aladdin in 1943 at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Margaret (centre right) and Princess Elizabeth (centre left) in the play Aladdin at the Royal Windsor School in 1943.

Portrait of Princess Margaret (left) and Princess Elizabeth (right) from the play Aladdin in 1943.

Princess Margaret (far left) and Princess Elizabeth perform in the play Aladdin in 1943.

Princesses Margaret and Elizabeth in the 1943 play Aladdin in Windsor, Berkshire.

Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth in the play Aladdin, 1943.

Princess Margaret and Princess Elizabeth in the play Aladdin, 1943.

Princess Elizabeth (centre) is seen performing in Aladdin, 1943.

Princess Margaret (right) and Princess Elizabeth (second from right) in the play Aladdin, 1943, at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in the play Aladdin, 1943, at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Margaret and Cyril Woods perform in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots together in 1944.

Princess Margaret (right) in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots, 1944.

Princess Margaret can be seen in the the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots in 1944.

Princess Elizabeth in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots, 1944, at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Elizabeth (right) and Princess Margaret (left) in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots, 1944, at the Royal School, Windsor

Princess Elizabeth (middle) and Princess Margaret (left) in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots, 1944, at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Elizabeth (middle left) and Princess Margaret (middle right) in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots, 1944, at the Royal School, Windsor, which was the last of their four annual performances.

Princess Margaret (right) can be seen in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots in Windsor, Berkshire, in 1944.

Princess Margaret can be seen in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots in 1944 at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Elizabeth (middle) and Princess Margaret (right) in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots, 1944, at the Royal School, Windsor.

Princess Elizabeth (middle) and Princess Margaret (right) in the play Old Mother Red Riding Boots.

(Images: SWNS, via CNN)




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