'The Queen at War' Looks at How Princess Elizabeth Became a Beacon of Hope

Rick and Christina Gables
PBS THE QUEEN AT WAR MASTER ELIZABETH UNIFORMED DRIVER
Courtesy of IWM

Seventy-five years after the end of the war in Europe, The Queen at War offers a fascinating look at how Princess Elizabeth, just 13 years old when World War II broke out, was set on her life’s path to become a legendary monarch.

Narrated by Phyllis Logan of Downton Abby, the documentary premieres Tuesday, May 5 on PBS.

Courtesy of Hulton Deutsch / Contributor / Getty Images

Together with sister Margaret, the young princesses became symbols of hope for a nation wracked by a horrific war, the terrors of the Blitz and the relocation of over a million children.

By 1945, Elizabeth had been transformed from a shy girl into a confident young woman and proved her mettle as a driver and mechanic in the women’s branch of the army.

PBS THE QUEEN AT WAR PRINCESS ELIZBETH CONCENTRATING WITH KING GEORGE VI 1942

Courtesy of Lisa Sheridan / Stringer / Getty Images

She was also already in love with the handsome naval officer she would one day marry.

Told through the reminiscences of friends, including Lady Glenconner; royal biographers Christopher Warwick, Robert Lacey, Jane Dismore and Hugh Vickers; and others, the documentary features rare footage of the Queen’s war years culled from private and public collections.

 

The Queen at War, Premiere, Tuesday, May 5, 8/7c, PBS (Check your local listings)