A Right Royal Panto!
The Olympic opening ceremony was memorable for many reasons, but none more so than the screen acting debut of Her Majesty, The Queen.
What the viewers may not have known is that Her Majesty, or Princess Elizabeth as she was then, is the veteran of three pantomimes- “Aladdin”, in which she played the title role, 'Cinderella', in which she played Prince Charming and “Old Mother Red Riding Boots” in which she played Lady Christina Sherwood.
Productions took place during the second world
Princess Elizabeth as Prince Charming and Princess Margaret as
Cinderella - 1941
Princess Elizabeth as Prince Charming and Princess Margaret as Cinderella - 1941
The Princesses also devised the pantomimes, aided by Hubert Tannar, the Headmaster of Windsor Royal School. The first productions 'Cinderella' was in December 1941, with Princess Elizabeth as Prince Charming, and Princess Margaret as Cinderella.
The second production “Aladdin” was in December 1943, with Princess Elizabeth as Principal Boy, and Princess Margaret as Princess of China!
I was delighted to acquire a rare copy of the programme recently. You don’t see them very often as they were sold for a shilling (5p) to the limited audience of pupils, friends and family who attended. My copy came by way of the family of a Royal Dentist invited to the performance, and it is now carefully stored in the Ellacott archive!
Mother Red Riding Boots” featured the
Princesses, the Welsh Headmaster Hubert Tannar and pupils from the
The venue was the
Waterloo Chamber inside
These pantos were not shoddy affairs as you can imagine. The principals and the pupils who comprised the chorus rehearsed for several weeks, with time off from lessons to attend run-throughs, and scenery was created by the Academy Award winning artiste, Vincent Korda.
Experts from the
In “Old Mother Red Riding Boots” Princess Elizabeth sang a hit number from the 1944 film “Going My Way” called “Swinging on a Star”. The pantomime had a Dame- played by Cyril Woods, with the comic “Sammy Suction” played by the headmaster himself, and even a panto horse called “Fairflint”!
Princess Margaret, Princess Elizabeth and Hubert Tannar - Red Riding Hood 1944
So, if you thought Her Majesty gave Daniel Craig a run for his money in the performance stakes, you can see that her Royal pedigree contains our glorious, eccentric and wonderful Pantomime. Does one agree? Oh yes, one does!
This page was last updated 26th August 2012