Previously unpublished photographs of the Queen as a young child are being seen by the public for the very first time. In honour of the arrival of her new great grandson Prince George, a new book is being released this week which includes family pictures of the future queen when she was just a little girl.
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It's clear from a number of the photos that her life-long passion for horses began at an early age. One picture shows the Queen, aged around four, sitting astride her first Shetland pony, named Peggy, which was given to her as a gift by her grandfather. Wrapped up warmly in a winter coat, hat and boots, smiling Elizabeth is proudly watched by her father, the-then Duke of York, who holds the reigns of the pony.
A second photograph, which was taken by her father in 1928, shows her pretending to ride a small toy horse in the garden of Naseby Hall, encouraged by her mother.
A third picture, taken that same year, shows little Elizabeth sitting in a wicker pram, holding the reigns of a miniature toy horse and cart. It is now known that she began to learn how to ride the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace when she was just three and a half, before receiving her Shetland pony for her fourth birthday. She was able to ride unaided by the time she was six.
The collection of intimate family photos also includes a touching snapshot taken in the summer of 1927 at Balmoral showing "a very young Princess" taking "baby steps" while holding on to the hands of her mother, the Duchess of York, and her grandmother, Queen Mary. Her mother had previously noted, "Elizabeth is learning to walk — very dangerous!"
All the photographs are being published for the first time in Royal Baby Book: A Souvenir Album, which tells the story of royal babies from Queen Victoria to Prince George. It also includes pictures of Elizabeth's progress book, which recorded details of her birth in 1926 and her early days.
The book's leather cover, and a page showing her place of birth and the names of her parents and grandparents, have not been published before. The Royal Baby Book will be available to buy Wednesday, August 21.
A version of this article appeared at hellomagazine.com with the headline "Unpublished childhood pictures of the Queen released to commemorate Prince George's birth."