♪♪ -Queen Elizabeth II is Britain's longest-reigning monarch.
[ Crowd cheering ] 75 years ago, she stood on this same balcony at Buckingham Palace, celebrating the end of the Second World War.
[ Crowd cheering ] This shy princess had been transformed by the demands of six years of war... a war that had seen her own home bombed and her parents nearly killed, a war that saw this quiet child find the courage to broadcast to evacuees in the United States and Canada... -Remember, it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.
-We thought they were in the wireless.
I remember my sister and I sort of looking behind the wireless, wondering where they were.
-...a war that saw her famous sense of duty emerging with new ceremonial roles... appear in pantomimes for the war effort... and support royal charities.
-It gives me great pleasure to come here today to open the Aberdeen Sailors Home.
♪♪ -...and saw her threatened by one of the war's most terrifying weapons.
-The girls threw themselves on the ground.
The thought the worst was going to happen.
Princess Elizabeth was really starting to show signs of strain.
-Eager to throw herself into the war effort, the national crisis turned this young woman into the leader her country needed.
-War made her.
It made her closer to people, and it made us closer to her because she's one of us.
-The Second World War transformed a shy princess into a legendary queen.
♪♪ ♪♪ -Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Windsor was born April 21, 1926.
As the daughter of the Duke of York, who was second in line to the throne, nobody expected Elizabeth to become queen.
Instead, she would lead a quiet life away from the glare of publicity.
♪♪ But everything changed when her uncle, Edward VIII, renounced the throne in favor of Elizabeth's father, who became King George VI.
10-year-old Elizabeth was now next in line to the throne.
-Back in 1936, 10-year-olds were still children, and she was still a child, because, as she told her sister, Margaret, "Uncle David's going away, and Papa is to be king."
And Margaret's response to that was, "Does that mean you're going to be queen?"
And she said, "Yes, one day."
-But Elizabeth's father, the Duke of York, was reluctant to take his elder brother's place.
-He was a man who doubted himself.
Could he be king?
He'd never been trained for this.
-The peaceful home life Elizabeth and her family had enjoyed up until now was shattered forever.
-She was too young for her parents to conceal their own distress.
She'd have lived through it at the dining table, lunch table, with them.
When she heard what was due to happen to her as heir to the throne, she started desperately praying for a baby brother, who would have got, in those days -- have jumped ahead of her in succession.
A nice little baby boy would have taken the load off her shoulders beautifully.
♪♪ -On May 12, 1937, George VI was crowned king.
♪♪ Elizabeth later wrote a detailed account of the day.
-She talks about Mummy and Daddy being consumed in a haze of wonder, and that clearly expressed how she herself was moved deeply, spiritually, by this -- this -- this mission that now lay ahead.
♪♪ -Princess Elizabeth came to terms with the fact she would one day follow her father and mother into that haze of wonder.
Her parents were determined she and her sister enjoy their childhood.
But suddenly everything changed.
♪♪ -The Royal Family were on their Scottish holiday, as usual, at the beginning of September 1939 when war broke out.
And the king and the queen went straight down to London to see the prime minister.
The girls stayed up in Scotland.
♪♪ -For the second time in the lives of most of us, we are... at war.
There may be dark days ahead, and war can no longer be confined to the battlefield.
♪♪ -The towns and cities of Britain were expected to bear the brunt of death and destruction.
Within the first three days of the war, 1 1/2 million children, pregnant women, and the infirm were evacuated to the countryside.
[ Indistinct conversations ] While the princesses were getting used to being separated from their parents, other children were preparing to leave theirs.
♪♪ -Many of the children thought they were going on holiday.
One or two children had a bucket and spade.
They took that away from them, but we had to just carry one change of clothes, and that's all.
-Aware of the suffering evacuation was causing, Elizabeth's mother shared her own feelings about it.
-Many of you have had to see your family life broken up, your children evacuated to places of greater safety.
The king and I know what it means to be parted from our children, and we can sympathize with those of you who have bravely consented to this separation for the sake of your little ones.
♪♪ -Looked after by their governess, Marion Crawford, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret were moved from Balmoral Castle to the less obvious target of Birkhall nearby.
They were about to experience what life as an evacuee was like for ordinary children.
-Quite soon, evacuees were being taken out of Glasgow and being set up in houses on the Balmoral Estate that the king had opened up.
-In the first weeks of the war, hundreds of Glaswegian evacuees descended on rural Scotland.
As World War II progressed, it would draw people together from very different backgrounds.
This didn't come naturally to the princess.
-Elizabeth was never quite at ease with some of the children because I think they were very, very different from the princesses, and she was a little bit awkward with them.
♪♪ -Elizabeth and Margaret each decided to donate one of their coats to the evacuees.
This simple gesture made the headlines.
Glasgow evacuees Isa Kelly and Betty Murphy were the lucky recipients of the coats.
-I remember Betty Murphy just because of the coat, I suppose.
-A year younger than Princess Elizabeth, local resident Zan Grant got to know some of the evacuees.
-They were from the poorest part of Glasgow, I would think, near the Clyde.
Yes, and, of course, their picture was in the paper.
Couldn't believe it, you know?
It was really something special at the time.
♪♪ -While the princess was getting to know her future subjects, the predicted bombing didn't happen.
By early 1940, many evacuees had returned to the cities.
Princess Elizabeth and her sister also secretly returned to England to be closer to their parents.
They caught up on the first major event of the war by watching newsreels in a private screening room.
♪♪ -The evacuation of the BEF from Flanders has been virtually completed.
Once again, Hitler had underrated the power of the Royal Navy.
♪♪ -The German invasion's progress through Western Europe led to the Dunkirk evacuation of Allied Forces.
In just six weeks, Hitler captured Paris on June 14th.
The German army was now at the English Channel.
♪♪ ♪♪ Holkham Hall, near Sandringham in Norfolk, lived under the threat of Nazi invasion by sea.
It was the family home of Ladies Anne and Carey Coke, friends of Princess Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret.
-When we were very young, when the princesses were very young, I was young, we used to go on the beach, you know, which was lovely, and swim and dig, make sand castles.
Princess Elizabeth then was more serious and did say, "Margaret, what are you doing?"
or "Anne, you shouldn't do that."
I mean, we definitely thought Hitler was going to land.
So my sister and I had this wonderful plan that we were actually gonna kill Hitler, and we had what we called Hitler's mess, which was a jam jar that we kept under our bed.
Anything really disgusting we'd put in there.
♪♪ And we had it all planned.
We used to practice with our Teddy bear being Hitler.
And we'd say, "Ooh, Mr. Hitler, how lovely to see you.
We've got a delicious drink that we've got for you."
We never thought beyond actually killing him.
I mean, we just thought we would succeed.
Luckily, we didn't have to put it into practice.
♪♪ -With their famous houses and palaces, the Royal Family were vulnerable targets for Nazi assassins.
Fear of invasion was growing.
The government repeatedly advised the Royal Family to move their children abroad.
-They were not sent to Canada, like a lot of girls of their age, on the grounds that, as is well known, the Queen Mother said, "They won't leave without me, and I won't leave without the king, and the king won't leave."
And, you know, you can understand it, that if the king and queen are still in London, things aren't too bad.
-The precise location of the Royal Family was a matter of great national secrecy and security.
-So, the newsreels told everybody at the time the princesses were somewhere in the country.
♪♪ Now of course we know it was Windsor Castle.
-They knew that they were probably fairly safe at Windsor, but they did have a safe house, as well, further north, and it was kept there the whole of the war.
So if there was an invasion, and everybody thought that there was going to be an invasion, the princesses and the queen could immediately be sent up north.
They would then take a boat from Liverpool so that they could get out of the country if they needed to be.
But, fortunately, that never happened.
-While she was safe in Windsor Castle, Princess Elizabeth worried about her father and mother, who remained in Buckingham Palace.
And in the Blitz to come, they would become the prime target for Hitler's Luftwaffe.
[ Bombs whistling ] ♪♪ In July 1939, two months before the outbreak of war, 13-year-old Princess Elizabeth and the rest of the Royal Family sailed to Dartmouth in Devon on the royal yacht.
♪♪ This was a day that would transform the life of the princess.
The Royal Family were here to pay a visit to the Royal Naval College, where Princess Elizabeth's father and grandfather trained as naval cadets.
Michael Vaughan was a 13-year-old recruit.
He recalls the visit.
-We would keep a keen eye open in case any of the royal party came anywhere near us, whereupon we would tremble.
[ Laughs ] It seemed to youngsters like us that he was a good chap and that his wife was really pleasant and there might be some prospect in the princesses.
[ Laughs ] -Dartmouth is where the country's naval officers are trained.
One in particular stood out from the crowd.
-This tall 18-year-old blond chap appeared that was Prince Philip of Greece.
-Prince Philip was asked to entertain the king and queen's daughters.
-Philip suggested that they go and jump over the tennis nets on the tennis courts.
-The princesses' governess, Marion Crawford, kept a sharp eye on the girls.
-Princess Elizabeth said, "Oh, Crawfie, look at how high he jumps," when he jumped over the tennis net.
-Once he'd proved his athletic skills, Prince Philip suggested a game of croquet.
♪♪ Shortly afterwards, a journalist captured a photograph of them together, alone.
♪♪ The following day, the royal party rejoined the royal yacht, but their departure didn't go unnoticed.
-A lot of the cadets rowed afterwards in a sort of show of thanks to say goodbye to the royal party.
-Just as they were sort of pulling right away and all the boats were going back to the harbor, the king happened to notice one boy really rowing away.
-And the king was looking through his binoculars.
"Who's that bloody fool still rowing?
And it was Philip, of course, and I think the princess has never forgot that.
-If you were wondering whether romance was blossoming, I would say that almost everybody believed that that was happening.
-Elizabeth herself just 13 then, and at this very moment, she meets the man, um, with whom she fell in love that day.
♪♪ -Rising up the ranks to first lieutenant, Philip would patrol the perilous waters of the Mediterranean and the Indian Ocean.
Princess Elizabeth kept up a regular correspondence with him.
-Whatever it meant to her personally, it gave her this same sense of identity with so many British women during the war.
Their man -- husband, fiancé, boyfriend -- was away risking his life, which Philip did.
-For the next five years, the princess kept a photo of a bearded Prince Philip on her mantelpiece.
"There you are, Crawfie," she said to her nanny.
"I defy anyone to recognize who that is."
♪♪ A year into the Second World War, life in Britain appeared to carry on as normal.
It became known as "the phony war."
But it came to an end on September 7, 1940.
♪♪ The Blitz began with heavy raids on London.
Mass air attacks on numerous towns, cities, and industrial targets followed over the next eight months.
♪♪ Between September 1940 and May 1941, more than 40,000 people died, almost half of them in London.
♪♪ -Princess Elizabeth was aware of this, I mean, 'cause they were at Windsor.
But they could hear some of the bombing.
The king felt that she needed to know.
And she would see Pathé News, and she would see newspapers, although she was protected from the real horrors of it.
♪♪ -Things move with lightning swiftness in this Nazi war, but at the moment of recording these pictures, London is still enduring the nightly bombardment by Hitler and his gangsters.
The casualties have been heavy, both in human lives and materials.
-Newsreels helped Princess Elizabeth to get a sense of what ordinary children were going through.
Ron Batchelor was a schoolboy living in central London during the worst of the air raids.
-When a building was hit, as children, we would go and have a look, and they were bringing people out on stretchers and covering them up.
A doctor had to certify that they were dead before they carted them away.
We were watching it just like it was an everyday thing.
At first, I was worried about it.
I'd never seen a dead person.
But you do.
You get used to these things.
You get used to bombing.
-The Second World War brought home death and destruction on a hideous scale right onto our doorsteps and into our homes in a way that had never been seen before in this country.
You heard stories of going to work in the morning, you see limbs lying on the street.
The hideousness of a dead baby or a dead child lying exploded in a mass of guts on the pavement.
♪♪ -On September 13, 1940, German bombers embarked on a secret mission.
♪♪ -Imagine you're a Luftwaffe pilot.
You're a bomber pilot.
You are now carrying out another bombing raid on London itself, but you've found a key feature in the form of the mall there.
What is at the other end?
One of the most famous, if not the most famous landmark in London itself -- Buckingham Palace.
That is the target.
-Princess Elizabeth's mother described the drama of what happened next in a letter to Queen Mary.
-My darling Mama, I hardly know how to begin to tell you of the horrible attack on Buckingham Palace this morning.
Bertie and I arrived there at about quarter to 11:00, and he and I went up to our poor windowless rooms to collect a few odds and ends.
At this moment, we heard the unmistakable "whir, whir" of a German plane.
We said, "Ah, a German."
And before anything else could be said, there was the noise of aircraft diving at great speed.
-They saw this bomber coming towards them.
Then they suddenly realized, actually -- the king suddenly realized -- "Good heavens, it's coming to us!"
[ Bombs whistling ] -Imagine the sound of that, when you're sat in your home, regardless of whether it's Buckingham Palace.
You're sat at your home, and you can hear the bombs coming down.
-"It all happened so quickly that we only had time to look foolishly at each other when the scream hurtled past us and exploded with a tremendous crash in the quadrangle.
[ Explosion ] ♪♪ -The king and queen were lucky to survive.
But instead of retreating to their daughters in Windsor, they ventured out to inspect the damage.
-The bombing of Buckingham Palace was a tremendous personal shock to the Royal Family, but it legitimized them, also.
The Queen Mother, as you now remember, famously said, "I'm glad we have been bombed.
I feel we can look the East End in the face."
-Having shared the suffering of the Blitz, the king and queen met ordinary Londoners with a new confidence.
As they chatted to people in bomb-damaged areas, a more informal way of presenting themselves to the public was emerging.
The newsreel cameras captured their every move.
-They saw the cruel damage inflicted by the Nazis, and they chatted with many of the people whose homes have been destroyed by the savage and indiscriminate raids.
-When we see those pictures of the king and queen meeting the crowds, it is the outgoing queen who's always setting the pace, as it were, and George VI naturally being a step behind.
♪♪ People came to find that rather appealing and human.
♪♪ -Keeping the king and queen safe while traveling around the country became increasingly challenging.
-Whilst they commuted, really, from Windsor to London by armored car every day, they also, during the war years, undertook no fewer than 300 regional tours and covered 4,000 miles in the Royal Train specifically to meet people, to cheer them, to raise morale, to comfort in whatever way they could.
[ Crowd cheering ] -One of the people who saw the king and queen was Ron Batchelor.
-I was standing in the playground, and somebody said, "Look!"
And he pointed, and we looked up, and about 50 yards away, I suppose, we saw the queen and the king in his uniform.
The queen had a fur coat on.
I remember that -- a fur wrap around here -- but it was a kind of a fur thing.
That -- I remember that quite well.
And I couldn't wait to tell my mum, so I left.
When they disappeared, I went running up to my mum, and I said to my mother, "Mama," I said, "guess what?"
She said, "What?"
I said, "The queen's come."
And she said, "What do you mean?"
I said, "I've seen her walking up the other end."
She said to me, "I hope you had your socks pulled up."
[ Applause ] -Everywhere, Their Majesties found the spirit of these people still undaunted, while they, for their part, sincerely appreciated the king and queen's true sympathy.
♪♪ -They were a very good double act, and we know that Elizabeth studied the newsreels of the time, and these were projected privately to the Royal Family in Buckingham Palace and Windsor.
After all, they were participants and wanted to see themselves.
-Visitors were wholeheartedly welcomed everywhere they went.
-Their appearance in the newsreels revealed the different characters and backgrounds of Princess Elizabeth's parents.
-Her mother had had a very different upbringing -- aristocratic as opposed to royal, a big family, a big rumbustious family, the Bowes-Lyons, and very full of warmth and fun.
By contrast, of course, George VI -- his parents, George V and Queen Mary -- it wasn't that they weren't loving people, essentially, but not terribly good at showing it.
♪♪ -Up until then, they were figures that you just saw all dressed up at the palace, having their photograph taken for some royal event.
The popularity of the king and queen and the Royal Family increased.
They'd become more open and more accessible.
And suddenly my family became Royalists, and that was common everywhere.
♪♪ -The Royal Family's appearances in cinema newsreels increased dramatically during the war.
♪♪ Princess Elizabeth was the first monarch to grow up in the perpetual gaze of the media, and she would soon be making a more demanding contribution to the war effort.
♪♪ Before the outbreak of the Second World War, over 14,000 children from wealthy families were sent to safety in the United States and Canada.
-The reason we are in America is because we have been evacuated from England, and our mothers did not think it was safe to go and stay in England.
-I came here because the war broke out, to be safe.
-Two children who weren't dispatched to safety across the Atlantic were Princess Elizabeth and her sister.
-My sister and I, being so proud that they were still in England, because a lot of our friends had been sent to America and Canada.
-Back home, nearly 8,000 children were killed in the mass bombings of the Blitz, and many more were seriously injured.
When the government funded overseas evacuation for 24,000 children from the inner cities, sending children abroad was no longer seen as the preserve of the wealthy.
♪♪ On September 13, 1940, 90 children boarded a ship like this one to take them to safety in Canada.
The SS City of Benares was four days into its voyage when it was spotted by a German U-boat.
[ Men shouting indistinctly in German ] [ Watch ticking ] ♪♪ It was reported that only 7 of the 90 children survived.
The prime minister, Winston Churchill, canceled all future plans to ship British children abroad.
-Buckingham Palace realized that these two girls themselves living somewhere in the country, having had their own house bombed in London, created a real identity with children.
♪♪ -On October 13, 1940, barely a month after the sinking of SS City of Benares, Princess Elizabeth recorded a radio broadcast for the BBC's "Children's Hour," transmitted around the world and heard by evacuees in the United States and Canada.
-My sister, Margaret Rose, and I feel so much for you, as we know from experience what it means to be away from those we love most of all.
-For that 14-year-old, it would have been a demanding thing to have done.
It demonstrated some pretty serious qualities for a very, very young teenager.
-To you living in new surroundings, we send a message of true sympathy, and, at the same time, we would like to thank the kind people who have welcomed you to their homes in the country.
-And we thought they were in the wireless.
I remember my sister and I sort of looking behind the wireless, wondering where they were.
-All of us children who are still at home... -I thought, "Oh, that's Princess Elizabeth talking to us on the radio."
It was wonderful.
-...think continually of our friends and relations who have gone -- -A lot of people commented that she sounds just like her mother and said what a marvelous, authoritative, and mellow voice she had.
-The king was delighted because she sounded very much like his wife.
-Many of you have had to see your family life broken up.
-To you, we send a message of true sympathy.
-She also spoke about how, "when peace comes, it is for us, the children of this generation, to ensure that war doesn't happen again," and that in itself marked her as the leader for her generation.
-And when peace comes, remember, it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place.
-It was a huge success, 'cause, basically, it was to America and Canada, and Elizabeth, being the sort of person she was, added a little amendment at the end and brought Princess Margaret into it.
-My sister is by my side, and we are both going to say good night to you.
Come on, Margaret.
-Good night, children.
-Good night, and good luck to you all.
♪♪ -Well, in America, they loved it so much that, "Ah, come on, Margaret" became a catchphrase.
And it was a huge success, and it was seen as slightly propaganda because it was sort of front page of all the newspapers in America that the princess had given this amazing broadcast.
♪♪ -The education of the nation's children suffered greatly during the war.
But from the age of 13, the king and queen decided Princess Elizabeth should be properly prepared for the life ahead of her.
♪♪ Less than 3 miles from Windsor Castle, Eton College presented a solution.
Twice a week, Elizabeth's governess, Marion Crawford, escorted her to the college.
"Piles of books everywhere," wrote Crawford of the tutor's study.
"Crawfie, do you mean to tell me he's read them all?"
asked Princess Elizabeth.
But soon she was absorbed in the complexities of the British Constitution.
-All through the emotional experience of the dangers and terror of war, she's also learning the technicalities of the difference between proroguing or dissolving or suspending Parliament, what the Prime Minister has to come to the Sovereign to do at those times.
And the relationship between George VI and Churchill became a paradigm which I think we can say the queen has followed for the rest of her life of closeness between premier and monarch.
-The king also gave Princess Elizabeth an introduction to dealing with the endless stream of government papers in the famous red dispatch boxes.
Elizabeth's mother had different priorities.
She was more concerned with developing her daughter's social skills and confidence.
She had the idea of putting on Christmas pantomimes to raise money for the war effort.
♪♪ The splendor of the Waterloo Chamber played host to members of the public who came to see a range of traditional pantomimes performed throughout the war years.
While Hitler was fighting a losing battle with the Soviet Union in December 1943, a 17-year-old Princess Elizabeth was preparing to play the role of Aladdin.
-The girls helped to make some of the costumes.
It was very much a hands-on affair, but, production-wise, it was big and professional.
[ Applause ] ♪♪ [ Cheers and applause ] [ Audience booing, hissing ] [ Laughter ] [ Audience ahs ] [ Horn honking ] [ Laughter, applause ] ♪♪ Some press members were invited in and spoke very, very highly of it.
-The Daily Mirror printed a feature with a photograph of the princesses described as "the stars of the show."
-To see the princesses dressed as Aladdin and something, you know, it was lovely.
We used to cut them out and pin them up on our bedroom wall.
I mean, for the children of Great Britain, the princesses were -- I always wondered whether they knew how much they meant to us.
[ Cheers and applause ] -What the pantomimes did do for Princess Elizabeth was to bring her out of this rather shy character that she was, and the pantomimes brought her out of her shell.
-During one performance of "Aladdin," Princess Elizabeth was pleased to see a certain young naval officer in the audience.
-Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip have kept in touch during the war.
It hasn't stopped him having other girlfriends in between.
But things really turn around when he spends Christmas at Windsor.
-They'd be spotted out walking hand in hand.
The moment they realized somebody was looking at them, they separated.
But for Elizabeth, there was just this one man in her life.
-There was one reporter who interviewed him called Olga Franklin.
She wrote that "I get dizzy looking at him.
His beauty is so dazzling.
People don't look like this in real life, surely.
This Prince Philip is stunning, with hair like gold coin, only paler, a sort of ash gold, eyes of deep blue, almost violet in the electric light, tall, fine-featured, really a shockingly beautiful figure in naval uniform."
So we have women who are just being bowled over by him still.
♪♪ And yet it isn't them that he goes for.
It's Princess Elizabeth.
♪♪ -Her mother was not at all keen and had a list of eligible young men for her, and as far as they were concerned, Philip was a penniless prince of Greece.
And although his bloodlines were very royal, they didn't consider him a very good prospect.
-But she knew from the very beginning that she had to have a husband who would help her do her job, And that was one of the many attractive qualities of Philip in her eyes.
Philip was ideal, so that side of her life was sorted.
♪♪ -As the Nazis launched a new series of raids on Britain's historic towns, the king appointed his daughter Colonel in Chief of the Grenadier Guards to mark her 16th birthday.
♪♪ Elizabeth is the only woman appointed to this ceremonial role in one of the oldest regiments in the British army.
-She was pretty nervous, and she had to walk up and down these ranks of very, very tall guardsmen and look as though she'd been doing it all her life, which, of course, she did because she had that very disciplined character.
-Here she is as colonel of the Grenadier Guards.
What a change from 13 to 16, you know, growing -- still a little shy, but growing in confidence, and this parade must have done an enormous amount for her own personal confidence and morale.
-Hip, hip, hip!
-Just four months after her appointment to the Grenadier Guards, Princess Elizabeth's much-loved uncle Prince George, Duke of Kent, was killed in a flying accident.
-We mourn the passing of the king's younger brother, who lost his life on active service.
The duke, who was an airman in his own right, had undertaken duties concerning the welfare of RAF personnel and was on his way to Iceland when the crash occurred.
-He was flying from Scotland to Iceland, ostensibly to visit RAF bases.
The flying conditions were not perfect.
There was a mist.
And in those poor flying conditions thundered into a hillside in Caithness.
And all bar the rear gunner, including, of course, Prince George, were killed.
♪♪ -This was the first time in more than 450 years that a member of the Royal Family died on active service.
♪♪ Prince George was 39 years old.
He left behind his wife, Princess Marina, and three young children.
♪♪ -Every family in the war -- practically every family -- lost somebody.
From that point of view, that wasn't unusual, but for the Royal Family, the loss of George of Kent was just hugely devastating.
♪♪ -Loss is personal, and I don't think there is any one way of dealing with it.
Whether -- There was a different attitude 50, 60, 70 years ago, and during the war, there was a different kind of stoicism.
I'm sure that would have applied to the Royal Family themselves.
I think it underlies so much of what one encounters with the queen today, with her sense of duty and her sense of stoicism.
♪♪ -As she grew older, Princess Elizabeth was expected to take on more and more public duties... ♪♪ ...from launching ships... to visiting hospitals... ♪♪ ...and making speech... -I shall like first to thank you all very much.
-I have now much pleasure in declaring the Aberdeen Sailors Home open.
-And now happily chatting to one line of troops... after another line of troops.
♪♪ Princess Elizabeth was growing up.
Very soon, she'd be defending the nation by serving in the military.
♪♪ June 1944, Windsor Castle, and the newsreels were about to reveal one of the most decisive chapters of the Second World War.
♪♪ D-Day saw the largest seaborne invasion in history.
The Allied Army was on its way to liberate German-occupied France.
♪♪ [ Whooshing ] Seven days after the Normandy landings, a strange and terrifying sound was heard tearing across the London sky.
[ Humming ] Then the noise stopped.
This was the first rocket-powered missile, known as the V-1.
The "V" was for "vengeance."
[ Indistinct conversations ] A second V-1 landed yards from Buckingham Palace and in the middle of a church service.
-A bomb was dropped on the Guards Chapel, and there were many servicemen and -women killed and some civilians, too, including some friends of the Royal Family.
The Royal Family was simply not immune at all.
-With the V-1, London had been plunged back into the dark days of the Blitz.
1 million people fled the capital over the next few months.
♪♪ 10 days after the Guards Chapel bomb, Princess Elizabeth's mother revealed her worst fears to her.
-"My darling Lilibet, this is just a note about one or two things in case I get done in by the Germans.
I think that I've left all my things to be divided between you and Margaret, but I am sure you will give her anything suitable later on, such as Mrs. Greville's pearls, as you will have the crown ones."
♪♪ -While Princess Elizabeth's mother feared for her life, she also worried about the safety of her daughters, who were still in the care of their governess, Marion Crawford.
-The princesses were in Windsor Great Park with the Girl Guides, and Crawfie was with them.
They suddenly looked up, and there was a V-1 in the air, and she says it was just like being chased by a robot.
The girls threw themselves on the ground, and they thought the worst was going to happen.
But, fortunately, the bomb passed overhead and crashed at Windsor Racecourse, a few miles away.
♪♪ Crawfie said the girls were really starting to show signs of strain.
-Nearly 10,000 V-1s were fired on Southeast England during the summer of 1944, causing terror and terrible damage.
♪♪ Now 18, Princess Elizabeth was eager to take a more active role in the war.
She joined the women's branch of the British army -- the Auxiliary Territorial Service, or ATS.
♪♪ Many of the women took on tasks such as operating radar, assisting military police, and crewing anti-aircraft guns.
The service wasn't without its risks to the princess.
It suffered 700 casualties in wartime.
-Her father was not at all keen, and he was nervous of really letting her go anywhere other than Windsor Castle.
So he said, eventually, "You can join up and do the course and learn whatever it is you want to do, but you've got to come home at night."
♪♪ -At an MT training center, Princess Elizabeth, now a second subaltern in the ATS, has been on a three-weeks course of instruction.
The princess is at the wheel of a 1,500-weight truck in convoy.
Although she drives it with apparent composure, she had no experience of driving before she commenced her training.
-She joined the Transport Division, taking a mechanics' course.
And the queen was known to have said, "We had spark plugs all the way through dinner."
So it really mattered to her.
♪♪ -She really enjoyed her training, you know, as a driver.
That's just how I felt.
I absolutely loved driving.
And she looked so happy to be able to drive.
She was able to be her own self.
Suddenly, women were useful.
You know, they weren't, "Stay at home and look after the children."
They could do all sorts of things.
They could go into the factories.
They could do war work of different things.
They could join up like I did.
If you were there, and the bombs were falling, well, there were very few people that were sort of running around, shrieking.
If they did, they were out of the army pretty quick.
Also, if you happened to get pregnant, [Whistles] you were out.
♪♪ -By joining the ATS in March 1945, Princess Elizabeth became the only female member of the Royal Family to serve in the armed forces.
-This, of course, was also something of a morale booster to the nation, because they could see the king's elder daughter, Princess Elizabeth, their future sovereign, doing what others were doing, what everybody else was doing, playing their part.
No matter how small, playing their part.
-By the time she finished her training, the war was drawing to a close.
But she'd learnt some valuable lessons.
[ Indistinct conversations ] -Princess Elizabeth, a humanity that she might have taken longer to discover, she shared a lot in common with ordinary people in that she saw their suffering.
She knew about it.
She knew that people looked to her as that new generation -- that new generation of hope.
-Today we give thanks to God.
Germany, the enemy who drove all Europe into war, has been finally overcome.
[ Crowd cheering ] ♪♪ -On May 8, 1945, Germany finally surrendered.
♪♪ Over a million people gathered in Central London to celebrate Victory in Europe Day.
One small boy was struggling to see the Royal Family.
-I remember some man picked me up and lifted me up and put me on his shoulders, and I looked.
That was how it was.
Everybody was so friendly with everybody.
You can't live in that atmosphere all the time.
But they came onto the balcony, and the king with his uniform on.
And it went on for hour after hour after hour.
[ Crowd cheering ] ♪♪ -Elizabeth said to her father, "You know, could we go out in it, see what's going on?"
It was so exciting.
-She was delighted when the king agreed that she could go out in the crowd with Princess Margaret and some friends and with some officers to keep an eye on them.
She was in her ATS uniform, so she was still dressed up.
And she didn't want to be recognized.
And she tried to pull her cap over her forehead so that she wouldn't be recognized.
And one of the officers said, "You know, you can't go like that.
Put your cap back properly."
♪♪ -This was the one time in her life when she could just be second subaltern, ordinary, junior commander, ordinary, Miss Windsor, ordinary.
Dancing down the mound, dancing their way up Piccadilly, St. James's, and at one point, grabbing the cap off the head of a sailor, who then he was chasing after them to get his cap back.
[ Crowd cheering ] ♪♪ -The future queen mingled unnoticed among her people.
For once in her life, she was just another face in the crowd.
-She actually described it as the most exciting night of her life.
[ Crowd cheering ] ♪♪ -I think that the war made Princess Elizabeth grow up like it made me grow up.
It really made her.
It made her closer to the people, who she reigned as subjects.
And it made us closer to her, because they had been in the war, and right through the war, they were one of us.
The Royal Family were one of us.
♪♪ -♪ Once you get down Lambeth way ♪ ♪ Every evening, every day ♪ ♪ You'll find them all ♪ ♪ Doing the Lambeth walk, oh ♪ -Two years after the revelers had gone home, Princess Elizabeth chose the occasion of her 21st birthday to make a vow to the people of her generation.
-I am thinking especially today of all the young men and women who were born about the same time as myself and have grown up, like me, in terrible and glorious years of the Second World War.
I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and to the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.
God help me to make good my vow, and God bless all of you who are willing to share in it.
♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ -To order "The Queen at War" on DVD, visit Shop PBS or call 1-800-PLAY-PBS.
This program is also available on Amazon Prime Video.