Photo of Queen and Princess Anne in pantomime goes up for sale

Is that the Queen? Oh yes it is! Photo of teenage Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret in costume for a Windsor Castle pantomime is expected to fetch £1,500 at auction

  • Princess Elizabeth was 18 when she starred as Lady Christina Sherwood in ‘Old Mother Red Riding Boots’ in 1944 amateur dramatic production for armed forces 
  • Margaret, 14, played the Honourable Lucinda Fairfax in Windsor Castle show
  • Belonged to Stanley Williams, who was superintendent of Windsor Castle 
  • Archive has remained in his family since and they are now selling the photo with auctioneers William George in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

A rare photograph of the Queen and Princess Margaret starring in a Royal pantomime at Windsor Castle has gone on sale via an auction house for an expected £1,500. 

Princess Elizabeth was 18 when she starred as Lady Christina Sherwood in ‘Old Mother Red Riding Boots’ in the 1944 amateur dramatic production to raise spirits during the Second World War. 

Margaret, aged 14, played the Honourable Lucinda Fairfax in the show performed to  Armed Forces and local children.

The 12ins by 8ins black and white photo, of the large ensemble cast on stage, shows Elizabeth looking resplendent in a sparklingly dress. 

Princess Elizabeth was 18 when she starred as Lady Christina Sherwood in ‘Old Mother Red Riding Boots’ in the 1944 amateur dramatic production to raise spirits during the Second World War. Margaret, aged 14, played the Honourable Lucinda Fairfax in the show performed to Armed Forces and local children

Margaret is stood to her left in an elegant dress, and they are surrounded by dozens of other performers from the Windsor Castle community and the Royal Windsor School.

The Royal Horse Guards orchestra, who provided the musical accompaniment to the morale-boosting production, are lined up at the front of the stage.

The photo and panto programme, listing Elizabeth and Margaret as cast members and also part of the ballet scenes, belonged to Stanley Williams, who was superintendent of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.

He is mentioned as a ‘manager’ of the pantomime in the programme, and the archive has remained in his family for eight decades.

They are now selling the photo, which was taken by Royal photographers Studio Lisa, programme and a ticket for the show with auctioneers William George in  Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. 

A William George spokesperson said: ‘Stanley Williams was a long standing Royal Servant and was Superintendent of Windsor Castle and later Buckingham Palace prior to his retirement.

The photo and panto programme, listing Elizabeth and Margaret as cast members and also part of the ballet scenes, belonged to Stanley Williams, who was superintendent of Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace

‘The lot comes from the family as they want to ensure it stays in the hands of someone who appreciates this group of items’ historical importance.

‘Old Mother Red Riding Boots was an opportunity for Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret to provide some wartime entertainment to the Armed Forces and the Children of Windsor.

‘Needless to say, the Royal Family and Staff at Windsor Castle worked very hard to provide some light entertainment for the audience at a time when this was in short supply.’

The show, combining elements of several different fairytales, was written and produced by school headmaster Hubert Tanner.

It was performed between December 21-23, 1944, with up to 600 people, including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, in attendance.

The costumes were worn by teenage Princess Elizabeth and Princess Margaret when they took to the stage in an Old Mother Red Riding Boots pantomime and Aladdin (pictured) 


Princess Margaret, the only sibling of Queen Elizabeth II, dressed as Princess Roxana alongside the costume she wore

The sale takes place tomorrow.

It comes just a month after costumes made for a teenage Princess Elizabeth and her sister Princess Margaret when they took to the stage in an Old Mother Red Riding Boots pantomime were put on display for the first time.

Visitors will be able to view the dazzling decorations and incredible costumes in the State Apartments – which are separate from the Queen’s private quarters at Windsor Castle. 

A young Elizabeth, now the Queen, wore a long-sleeved pink satin and lace dress to play Lady Christina Sherwood for the production during the Second World War when she was 18.


Princess Elizabeth (Queen Elizabeth II) in costume pictured during a royal pantomime production of Aladdin at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, in 1943


Princess Margaret during a royal pantomime production of Old Mother Red Riding Boots at Windsor Castle, Berkshire, in 1944

She also donned a chintz shirt, trousers and sunhat for a seaside scene, in which Margaret wore a blue taffeta dress with cream lace bloomers to play The Honourable Lucinda Fairfax.

The carefully preserved outfits will be on public view for the first time as part of a special Christmas at Windsor Castle display at the Berkshire royal residence until January 31.

They are shown alongside the outfits the princesses wore for their war-time Aladdin pantomime, which have been exhibited previously.

Mother Red Riding Boots and acted alongside children from the Windsor Castle community and the Royal Windsor School.

The specially created show combined elements of a number of different pantomimes and fairy-tales, and was written and produced by Hubert Tanner, headmaster of the school.


Princess Elizabeth in a production of Old Mother Red Riding Boots in 1944 and the costume she wore

It was performed three times in December 1944, and for each performance tickets were made available for audiences of between 300 and 600 people.

Specially discounted seats were offered to members of the armed forces and dress rehearsals were attended by staff of the Ministry of Works and Planning who assisted with the technical arrangements for each production.

The princesses’ parents King George VI and Queen Elizabeth and other members of the royal family attended each pantomime.

All proceeds raised from the productions were donated to the Royal Household Wool Fund to provide wool to make comforters for soldiers fighting at the Front. 

The couturier of the surviving costumes is unknown, but many of those worn in the royal pantomimes between 1941 and 1944 were supplied by two theatrical costumier firms, H&M Rayne and L&H Nathan. 

The princesses also wore some of their own clothes for certain scenes, including day and evening ensembles created by the British couturier Sir Norman Hartnell.

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