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Rare photo of young Princess Elizabeth given to Prince Charles

On an official visit to a charity in Bath, Prince Charles was presented with a previously unseen picture of his mother, The Queen, which was taken when Her Majesty was just 13 years old.

The picture of the teenaged Princess Elizabeth, as she was then, was taken at Windsor Castle by Lawrence Audrain, a Canadian photographer who was invited to the royal residence by King George VI to photograph the Royal Family ahead of an overseas tour. As the picture was taken in 1939, the tour in question could be either the State Visit to France or America ahead of the war.

In the picture, the 13 year-old Princess is wearing a striped dress with short sleeves and decorated with three tiny bows, and a pearl necklace.

However, the photograph never saw the light of day, because it was rejected by Queen Elizabeth, later The Queen Mother, who decided that it was too informal. Years after Mr Audrain’s death, it was found in his attic by his daughter, who gave it to her friend Simon Barnes as a wedding present.

Mr Barnes is currently the chief executive of Send a Cow, an international development charity and the organisation that the Prince of Wales recently visited. It was Mr Barnes who passed the framed photo on to His Royal Highness. “I’ll see if Mama remembers it and remembers what she was wearing when it was taken,” a delighted Prince Charles told him upon seeing the picture.

Because the young Princess didn’t see her picture after it was taken, this will be the first time that The Queen sees this photograph of herself. More likely than not, it will bring back happy memories of her childhood before the war.

Send a Cow is an international charity that provides livestock and training in food growing to countries in Africa to help people out of poverty. It was started 28 years ago by West Country dairy farmers, and is currently backed by farmers from around the UK. Prince Charles is the President of Send a Cow.