Queen Victoria is brought to life in incredible colourised footage

One’s in colour! Queen Victoria is brought to life in incredible colourised footage as a young Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret transform from black and white in front of viewers’ eyes in a new documentary

  • Stunning colourised video produced from earliest existing footage of Victoria 
  • It’s part of new Smithsonian series bringing to life archive clips of Royal Family
  • Also has earliest known original colour footage of Princess Elizabeth, now Queen
  • Britain In Colour is due to begin on Smithsonian Channel tomorrow night at 8pm

Stunning colourised video has been produced from the earliest existing footage of Queen Victoria as part of a series bringing to life archive clips of the Royal Family.

The series also reveals the earliest known original colour footage of the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, playing in a Piccadilly garden in London with her sister Margaret.

Another royal featured in Britain In Colour is Edward VIII who threw the monarchy into crisis when he decided in 1937 to wed the married American Wallis Simpson.

The new series Britain In Colour features the earliest known footage of Victoria – who was seen as distant and remote towards the end of her reign – being driven in a carriage

The footage of Victoria dates back to shortly before her death in 1901. She had continued to mourn her husband Albert despite his death in 1861 and shut herself away from the world

The footage of Victoria dates back to shortly before her death in 1901. She had continued to mourn her husband Albert despite his death in 1861 and shut herself away from the world

The three-part series, due to begin on Smithsonian Channel tomorrow at 8pm, will also look at the British Empire and Winston Churchill in its later episodes. 

Episode one on royalty offers glimpses into the Royal Family around 120 years ago, including the uniformed procession at Queen Victoria’s funeral in 1901.

The programme also features the earliest known footage of Victoria – who was seen as distant and remote towards the end of her reign – being driven in a carriage. 

Victoria had continued to mourn her husband Prince Albert despite his death in 1861 and shut herself away from the world – making the monarchy unpopular at the time.

Her son Edward VII then succeeded in 1901 and realised the importance of the theatre and spectacle of royalty in making monarch loved by their subjects.

Victoria's son Edward VII (pictured) then succeeded in 1901 and realised the importance of the theatre and spectacle of royalty in making monarch loved by their subjects.

Victoria’s son Edward VII (pictured) then succeeded in 1901 and realised the importance of the theatre and spectacle of royalty in making monarch loved by their subjects.

The Queen and Margaret in Piccadilly as children
The series also reveals the earliest known original colour footage of the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, playing in a Piccadilly garden in London with her sister Margaret
Slide me

The series also reveals the earliest known original colour footage of the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, playing in a Piccadilly garden in London with her sister Margaret

Margaret and Elizabeth are pictured as children with their parents Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and George VI, in the new series due to begin on Smithsonian Channel tomorrow

Margaret and Elizabeth are pictured as children with their parents Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother and George VI, in the new series due to begin on Smithsonian Channel tomorrow

The documentary looks at his short reign of only nine years, before his son George V steered the monarchy through the First World War from 1914 to 1918.

When Britain went to war with Germany, it was ruled by George’s first cousin, Kaiser Wilhelm II – and George therefore decided to sever his German roots. 

Amid anti-German sentiment, he changed the family name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the more British sounding House of Windsor, which it retains today.

The series then looks at how George’s heir Edward VIII, caused a constitutional crisis when he decided to marry his American married mistress Wallis Simpson. 

The Church of England at that time did not allow divorced people to marry, and Edward was the Head of the Church – but he chose his love for her over the Crown. 

Princess Elizabeth in 1947
Princess Elizabeth gives a speech  on her 21st birthday in April 1947. In it, she said: 'I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service'
Slide me

Princess Elizabeth gives a speech on her 21st birthday in April 1947. In it, she said: ‘I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service’

Elizabeth pictured with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh took over as Queen aged just 25 in a spell that has seen her become Britain's longest-reigning monarch

Elizabeth pictured with Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh took over as Queen aged just 25 in a spell that has seen her become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch

Another royal featured in Britain In Colour is Edward VIII who throws the monarchy into crisis when he decides in 1937 to wed the married American Wallis Simpson

Another royal featured in Britain In Colour is Edward VIII who throws the monarchy into crisis when he decides in 1937 to wed the married American Wallis Simpson

The role of king was then left to his younger brother, the shy, stammering and reluctant George VI, to reign over Britain and the Empire.

Britain celebrate George VI’s coronation in 1936 but he was viewed as an unpopular king, who few people believed would make a success of his new role. 

However during the Second World War he soared in popularity when he chose to stay in London with his subjects as bombs rained bombs on the capital in the Blitz. 

George VI died of ill health in 1952, leaving his daughter Elizabeth, 25, to take over as Queen in a spell that has seen her become Britain’s longest-reigning monarch.

The coronation of the young, glamorous monarch in 1953 heralded a new optimistic age following a ceremony which was broadcast live to the world for the first time.

The three-part series, due to begin on Smithsonian Channel tomorrow at 8pm, will also look at the British Empire and Winston Churchill in its later episodes

The three-part series, due to begin on Smithsonian Channel tomorrow at 8pm, will also look at the British Empire and Winston Churchill in its later episodes

The programme, narrated by Stephen Mangan, evokes memories of the First World Wart documentary They Shall Not Grow Old released in November 2018

The programme, narrated by Stephen Mangan, evokes memories of the First World Wart documentary They Shall Not Grow Old released in November 2018

Smithsonian said: ‘Today the Royal Family is one of Britain’s best loved institutions but in the early 20th century they have to fight for their popularity and survival. 

‘Rare film, seen in colour for the first time, tells the story of how House of Windsor nearly fell and how they brought the monarchy back from the brink of disaster.’

The programme, narrated by Stephen Mangan, evokes memories of the First World Wart documentary They Shall Not Grow Old released in November 2018.

That work by filmmaker Peter Jackson colourised archive footage from the front line and used lip readers to establish what the soldiers in the trenches were saying.

Britain In Colour is a new three-part series airing from tomorrow at 8pm on the Smithsonian Channel (Freeview 99 , Freesat 175 , Sky 195 and Virgin Media 295) 

Distinct Today is a news media company, focused on the intersection between hyper-relevant content and digital innovation. Distinct Today curates editorial news content, experiences, and events across multiple platforms including email, mobile, online and offline. Distinct Today is headquartered in Houston, Texas. The company is privately held. Distinct Today targets an affluent, college-educated audience.