1 June to 30 June 2022

IWM North

Free event with general admission

Throughout her 70-year reign and in the decades before, Her Majesty The Queen has lived through times of conflict, maintaining an enduring relationship with the armed forces and honouring those affected by war at home and across the world.

Marking the Platinum Jubilee this spring, IWM North will explore the role of The Royal Family in conflict, tracing The Queen’s personal experience of war through projections of film and photography.

As Princess Elizabeth, The Queen’s first public duties were during the Second World War, which broke out when she was 13 years old. Upon joining the Auxiliary Territorial Service in 1945, she became the first woman in The Royal Family to enlist as a full-time member of the armed services. Since then, The Queen has supported those who serve and veterans of conflict in her role as Head of the Armed Forces, a post that continues a long royal military tradition. 

New research into IWM’s photography archive demonstrates just how keenly The Queen’s role as monarch has been shaped by her wartime experiences. This relationship between crown and conflict will be explored through IWM’s collections, bringing human stories to the foreground and providing a unique lens through which to join the national moment.

Archive IWM images

HM The Queen inspecting the Royal Guard of Royal Marines from HMS NEWFOUNDLAND during her visit to the ship. Front Rank: Right to left: Sergeant Balding, of Goodmayes, Essex; Marine Case, of Bridgewater; Marine Wright of Edinburgh. Rear Rank: Right to left: Marine Wintle, of Nottingham (partly out of picture); Marine Pattit of Hull; Marine Nicholls of Derby; Marine Merritt of Deal, Kent; Corporal Burton of Norwich.
© IWM A 32912

Archive IWM images

Throughout the month of June, the striking architecture of IWM North’s main exhibition space will host projections of film and photography that depict The Queen’s long history of involvement with the military and demonstrate the various roles she has played in war and peacetime.

Beginning with some of her first official engagements as young Princess Elizabeth, visitors to IWM North will be able to enjoy a rich selection of rarely seen archive material that surveys her life in an immersive and unique setting. 

The Royal Family in Wartime

Royal Family in Wartime publication front cover
© IWM

The Royal Family in Wartime

Published 12 May 2022

Showcasing over fifty photographs from IWM’s vast collections, this new publication marking the Platinum Jubilee features several rarely published photographs of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. These images demonstrate – often in vivid colour – how the connection between royalty and the armed forces is so enduring, illustrating the many and varied ways that members of Britain’s Royal Family, from King George V to the Duke of Cambridge, have played their part in wartime over the past century.

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