It says a huge amount about the confidence of the royal family, that they feel able to respond to their Nazi home movie with nothing other than outrage that anybody should see it. They make no denial they were giving Nazi salutes, no statement that the royal family did not support the Nazis. Of course the young children had no idea of the implications. But the adults most certainly did. The missing figure is the cameraman, future King George, who was filming his wife and brother displaying the family sympathies.
The royal family were of course German themselves – completely so. Since George I every royal marriage in line of succession had been conducted in strict accordance with the Furstenprivatrecht, to a member of a German royal family. The Queen Mother, who was of course not expected to feature in promulgating the line of succession, was the first significant exception in 220 years. She was evidently trying hard to fit in. But I am not sure German-ness has much to do with it. Nazi sympathies were much more common in the aristocracy than generally admitted. Their vast wealth and massive land ownership contrasted with the horrific poverty and malnutrition of the 1930’s, led the aristocracy to fear a very real prospect of being stood against a wall and shot. Fascism appeared to offer social amelioration for the workers with continued privilege for the aristocrats. It is completely untrue that its racism, totalitarianism and violence was unknown in 1933-4. They knew what they were doing.
Happily fascism was defeated. The royal family is of course only the tip of the iceberg of whitewashed fascist support – without even starting on industrialists, newspaper proprietors, the Kennedys, etc. etc. But the Buckingham Palace option of outrage that anybody should ever remember is very sad – still more sad that such a position gets such popular support.
We never did get round to shooting the aristocrats.
I am an optimist in politics. My experience of life has taught me that altruism is a far stronger human urge than selfishness. Modern political fashion is based on the denigration of the urge to cooperation, and I do not believe will survive.
Which leads me to believe we are now living in an embarrassing past. Future generations will look back at the massive and exponentially expanding gap between rich and poor, at the super state security services and near total surveillance, at the violent wars waged in ill-disguised annexation of resources, and be amazed that people could support it. I also think that enormous shame will attach to all those who support the excruciatingly slow genocide of the Palestinians. That will be part of our embarrassing past.