26 MAY 2009

Seated on a throw-covered chair and dressed appropriately for her young years in white socks and sensible shoes, the girl gazing at the camera in a recently unearthed photograph could be any shy pre-war youngster.

But a closer look reveals the snap to be a rare picture of the Queen, taken during her childhood in 1935 when she was just nine years old.

The subject of an unfinished marble bust, just visible to her left, the Princess was sitting for a renowned sculptor Sigismund de Strobl. The finished work was entitled Princess Elizabeth, and had been commissioned by her parents, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.

The yellowing photo was discovered by chance by museum curator Robert Flynn Johnson at a postcard fair in the capital, the Mail reports. "At first I thought it was a charmingly awkward photograph of a young girl," he admitted. "Then it dawned on me this was the Queen as a young girl."

"These kinds of photograph aren't taken by anyone famous but each is a little masterpiece in its own way and captures a moment in time," he added.

Now part of the Royal Collection, the marble sculpture was last on display at an exhibition held in The Drawings Gallery at Windsor Castle in 2006 to celebrate the royal matriarch's 80th birthday.

A rare picture from the Queen's childhood has come to light. Taken in 1935 the photo captures the then Princess as she sits for a sculpture by Sigismund de Strobl, a work commissioned by her parents
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