On her 21st birthday, the Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, delivered a heartwarming speech to the world in a live broadcast transmission from Cape Town, during the Royal Family’s South African tour in 1947.
Her Majesty touched the hearts of many, declaring her devotion to fulfilling her role as Head of the Commonwealth.
The most famous line from her speech read: “My whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family.”
However, according to Robert Hardman, author of new book Queen of the World, the speech was not a live broadcast, nor was it delivered in Cape Town.
Mr Hardman’s controversial claim comes from an unpublished diary account of the day’s proceedings, which remains locked in the Royal Archives.
A diary by the King’s press secretary, Captain Lewis Ritchie, revealed an entry dated for Sunday, April 13 1947, at Victoria Falls in Rhodesia – now known as Zimbabwe.
The diary entry read: “At 6pm, Princess Elizabeth recorded her speech for the BBC.
“It was afterwards played off for Her Royal Highness to hear and was a great triumph.”
Mr Hardman also said the sun’s positioning for April sunsets did not match the supposed time of the live speech, which was said to be at 7pm.
According to the archived diary entry, the Queen’s speech was in fact pre-recorded in Zimbabwe and then broadcast almost a week later, as if it was live.
Mr Hardman added: “None of which makes a jot of difference either to the content or relevance of this great speech.
“However, it has always been a source of enormous pride to South Africans – and a key part of the modern Commonwealth narrative – that the future Queen made her selfless act of dedication in South Africa.
“It would now seem that Zimbabweans can stake a claim, too.”
The book honours the Queen’s legacy over the years, and depicts her travels across the world to Australia, Fiji, Tonga and New Zealand.
A new ITV documentary titled Queen of the World will feature a fascinating glimpse into Her Majesty’s life, family and Royal Collection over the years.
Never before seen footage of the Queen’s life – including her 1954 Commonwealth tour – will be exclusively shown, and royal fans will get to enjoy a new insight in to the monarch’s reign.
Princess Anne previously recalled the time she and her family embarked on their legendary six-month Commonwealth tour.
She said: “I have very good memories of that trip – the journey out and the sea nannies that we had to stop us from launching ourselves over the side!
“We were kept very busy. There was lots to do, all sorts of places to go and things to keep clean – lots of scrubbing and polishing; that was part of our role.”
The Queen of the World documentary, will be broadcast on ITV on Tuesday, September 25.