The Queen at war book


19 April 2022
King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspecting bomb damage at Buckingham Palace King George VI and Queen Elizabeth inspecting bomb damage at Buckingham Palace
To coincide with Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, IWM is publishing The Royal Family in Wartime as part of a new IWM series of photography publications.
The Queen at war book Images

Showcasing more than 50 photographs from IWM’s vast collections, this brand-new publication brings together rarely seen images to chronologically explore The Royal Family’s relationship with war and conflict, from World War I to today. Forming part of IWM’s wider Platinum Jubilee programming, The Royal Family in Wartime and an accompanying exhibition at IWM London are the first time the museum has delved into its collections to examine the enduring connections between crown and conflict.

Presented with an introduction from IWM Curator Kate Clements and featuring detailed captions exploring the story behind each photograph, this new publication depicts the many and varied ways that members of Britain’s Royal Family have played their part in wartime over the past century, from The Queen, King George VI and The Queen Mother to Princess Diana and the late Duke of Edinburgh. It illustrates how The Royal Family has served in the armed forces, boosted the morale of a weary wartime nation, and led the commemoration of those who died in the service of their country. Together, these photographs – many of which are unique to IWM’s archive – demonstrate just how keenly the life and work of The Royal Family has been affected by war.

Highlights within The Royal Family in Wartime include a series of photographs of The Queen, when she was Princess Elizabeth, serving in the Auxiliary Territorial Service during World War II. This made her the first woman in The Royal Family to enlist as a full-time member of the armed services. Other photographs shine a light on the official visits of King George V to the Western Front during World War I, annual Services of Remembrance led by The Royal Family, and the role of the Duke of Cambridge as IWM’s patron. Striking images also illustrate the, often personal effect, of conflict on The Royal Family, with one such photograph depicting King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (the future Queen Mother) inspecting bomb damage at Buckingham Palace during the Blitz in September 1940.

Kate Clements, author of The Royal Family in Wartime and curator of the exhibition Crown and Conflict: Portraits of a Queen in Wartime at IWM London, said, “Exploring IWM’s incredible photography archive to uncover the links between The Royal Family and armed conflict was fantastic. The images in this publication reveal just how involved members of The Royal Family have been in moments when the nation was at war over the past century, as well as their continued support of the armed forces, veterans and wartime commemoration. From Princess Mary’s Christmas Gift Fund during the First World War to the military service of the Prince of Wales and his sons, readers will gain a brand-new understanding into these enduring links between crown and conflict.”

The Royal Family in Wartime forms part of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee at IWM, a series of new programming that explores the role of The Royal Family in conflict and traces The Queen’s personal experience of war through poignant items, including rarely seen film and photography in IWM’s collections. Royal Family in Wartime, published to accompany The Queen's Platinum Jubilee at IWM, costs £12.99 and will be available to order at from 12 May 2022.


The Spitfire by Adrian Kerrison, £12.99

Publishing simultaneously as part of IWM's new series of publications on its vast photography collection is The Spitfire (12 May 2022), a visual history of the iconic Battle of Britain aircraft. The 50 photographs included form a key and exciting part of IWM’s historic photography collection, many of which have rarely been seen before. The book will feature an introduction from IWM Curator Adrian Kerrison, who featured in the recent Channel 5 documentary, Secrets of the Imperial War Museum, to discuss IWM Duxford’s own Spitfire N3200, the only airworthy exhibit in the museum’s collection, which served in Dunkirk in 1940. This book, bringing together the service history of the Spitfire and encompassing decades of flying from all over the world, will show why it remains such a perennial favourite of the skies.


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