Buckingham Palace is considering taking legal action over leaked footage that shows a young Queen apparently performing a Nazi salute with her family.
The Palace has launched an inquiry into how the 17-second black and white film came into the hands of The Sun newspaper.
It shows the Queen, aged six or seven, join the Queen Mother and her uncle Prince Edward in raising an arm in what the newspaper claims is a Nazi salute as she played alongside her younger sister, Princess Margaret.
It is understood that depending on the outcome of the investigation, the Palace will be looking at issues of copyright and possible criminality.
A source said the royal household is trying to ascertain where the film came from, who it came from and why it was handed over to the newspaper.
The Telegraph quoted a source as saying: "Access to the Royal Archives is rare and covered by confidentiality agreements."
The paper suggested that the footage could have mistakenly been handed over as part of a batch of home films during the assembly of a tribute piece.
A Palace spokesman said on Saturday: "It is disappointing that film, shot eight decades ago and apparently from Her Majesty's personal family archive, has been obtained and exploited in this manner."
Meanwhile a source told the Sunday Mirror that the Queen was apparently "livid" at the leak.
The source said that Her Majesty felt "betrayed" by "deliberate mischief making" and demanded to know how the film got into the hands of the Sun.
The grainy footage from 1933 shows the Queen playing with a dog on the lawn in the gardens of Balmoral, The Sun claims, before she raises an arm to wave to the camera with Margaret.
The Queen Mother then makes a Nazi salute, and after glancing towards her mother the Queen mimics the gesture.
The Queen Mother repeats the salute, joined by Edward, and Margaret raises her left hand before the two children continue dancing and playing on the grass.
The Queen was either six or seven when the footage was taken
Some have criticised the newspaper's decision to publish the footage, and a Palace source said the pictures should be seen "in their proper context and time".
The source added: "The Queen is around six years of age at the time and entirely innocent of attaching any meaning to these gestures.
"The Queen and her family's service and dedication to the welfare of this nation during the war, and the 63 years the Queen has spent building relations between nations and peoples speaks for itself."
The Sun's managing editor Stig Abell said the footage was obtained by the newspaper "in a legitimate fashion" and that its publication was "not a criticism of the Queen or the Queen Mum".
The reaction to the scoop was mixed. Some were incensed by the story...
Other defended it…