10/02/2012 05:06 GMT | Updated 10/02/2012 05:10 GMT

Secret Royal Portraits Reveal The Queen As A Toddler (PICTURES)

A rarely-seen photograph of the Queen as a toddler will be the first item featured in a new BBC radio series telling the history of monarchy through royal objects.

Lavish artwork, family pictures and ancient artefacts from palaces have all been brought to life by experts for the Radio 4 programmes which begin tomorrow.

The Royal Collection has collaborated with the BBC for the eight-part series - The Art Of Monarchy - which celebrates the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

The Queen's picture gives a glimpse of life in the royal household at Balmoral Castle on a sunny autumn day more than 80 years ago.

The photograph of the Queen was taken in September 1928 by her father the Duke of York, later King George VI, in the grounds of the Scottish royal residence.

Two-year-old Princess Elizabeth stands looking into the camera and nearby in front of the young royal is a pet parrot called Charlotte, belonging to her grandfather George V.

In the background is her grandmother, Queen Mary, great-uncle the Earl of Athlone, and her grandfather's terrier dog Snip.

For the opening sequence of the first programme called Behind The Royal Image, presenter and BBC arts editor Will Gompertz visited Balmoral with Royal Collection curator Deborah Clarke to discuss the significance of the photograph on the exact spot where it was taken.

They matched window panes and drainpipes to those in the photograph and finally locate the place at the castle's south front.

Sophie Gordon, senior curator of photographs at the Royal Collection, said: "This small snapshot provides a rare opportunity to see a private family moment captured on camera.

"The Duke of York, later King George VI, presents us with a glimpse of family life in an intimate setting, rather than the more formal royal poses with which we are familiar.

"This photograph was not intended to be seen in public, yet it is an important reminder that the Royal Family are just that - a family."

Highlights from the series include a magnificent George IV candelabrum used at state banquets and a book written by Henry VIII in defence of Catholicism.

A provocative painting of Queen Victoria, commissioned by her as a surprise present for her husband Prince Albert, is also featured along with a delicate portrait of a woman by Leonardo da Vinci.

The photograph of the Queen will be on display with books and manuscripts from the radio series from today until May 7 at Windsor Castle.

The Art Of Monarchy is broadcast in eight weekly episodes on BBC Radio 4 from Saturday, 10.30am to 11am.

It comes just a day after the grandson of Kenneth Clayton released the secret family photographs the BBC photographer took just after the death of the Queen's father.

These inspired Mr Clayton's official first portrait of the monarch after she took the throne.