The Queen

New footage of a young Queen Elizabeth aired on Countryfile

British television programme Countryfile aired a special royal edition last night which focused on The Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk, exploring how it is run and letting slip secrets about the monarch’s time there as a child. It is one of three special episodes going behind the scenes of three different estates of the monarch – Windsor, Sandringham and Balmoral – and showcasing her lifelong passion for rural Britain and her knowledge and love of animals.

The Queen’s love of horses and the equine world is well known and that love affair started at a very early age. Viewers of Countryfile – which reports on rural, agricultural and environmental issues in the UK – were treated to a special behind-the-scenes glimpse of the monarch’s time on the Sandringham estate with never before seen footage. The clips included a clearly ecstatic then-Princess Elizabeth climbing onto the back of a horse for the very first time, her smile lighting up.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are said to be fans of Countryfile which premiered in 1988 and is celebrating its 30th anniversary with these royal specials.

Last week’s episode of the BBC programme focused on The Queen’s Windsor estate where hosts Matt Baker and farmer Adam Henson shared insight on the logistics of The Queen’s farm and lands in Windsor Great Park. Viewers were surprised to see just how automated a lot of the systems are with hydroelectric power employed (built up by generators in the Thames), automatic milking machines in the cow barn which allows cows to come in to be milked at their leisure, and a large robot which automatically sweeps up after the cattle. What most excited host Adam, however, was the special water beds the cows sleep on which help to destress the animals.

Viewers are thoroughly enjoying the special access behind royal walls with one tweeting: “#QueenAndCountry was fantastic! Well done @BBCCountryfile very well produced. Three fabulous episodes!”