QUEEN ELIZABETH II contributed as the Allies deceived Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during World War 2 when she joined her father, King George VI, in acts of astonishing royal deception before the D-Day landings. The Queen — then known as Princess Elizabeth — was only 13 years old when war broke out in 1939. However, …
QUEEN ELIZABETH II contributed as the Allies deceived Nazi leader Adolf Hitler during World War 2 when she joined her father, King George VI, in acts of astonishing royal deception before the D-Day landings.
The Queen — then known as Princess Elizabeth — was only 13 years old when war broke out in 1939. However, by 1944 the teenager was keen to get involved with the war effort and trained with the Auxiliary Territorial Service as a truck driver and mechanic. Her father George VI also decided that she was old enough to contribute in his plan to trick the Nazis through false leads before the D-Day landings of June 6 that year.
Channel 4’s 2019 documentary ‘D-Day: The King who fooled Hitler’ explained how the monarch and his daughter worked on behalf of British intelligence in 1944.
The documentary’s narrator explained: “The Allies’ aim was to deceive them into thinking that the main landings would be at Calais — anywhere else like Normandy would just be a side-show.
“The King’s movements, as reported in the British press, were a central part of the deception plan.
“What has been seen until now as a random series of morale-boosting royal visits to troop concentrations, was in fact a calculated programme.
“Mi5’s plan was to drip-feed the Germans information which would make them think they were piecing together the jigsaw of the secret plan for D-Day.”
The documentary emphasised how a few months before the Normandy landings, the “royal involvement was to be ratcheted up”.
It explained: “For the first time, the Queen and Queen to be, Princess Elizabeth, were enlisted.”
On March 24, 1944, newspapers led with headlines akin to ‘The King with his Army — Tour with the Queen and the Princess’.
The monarch and his family went north on the royal train, via the eastern end of the country, backing up the tale of deception they wanted the Germans to swallow — that the troops would not be attacking Normandy.
Their route north suggested they were visiting troops who might be going east to Calais or even east to Scandinavia.
This was the first time the heir had made a full length tour with her parents, too, so it amplified the event.
Professor Richard J.Aldrich told the documentary: “When you have the Queen, when you have Princess Elizabeth, the whole Royal Family, their dramatic forces, airborne gliders, snipers, special forces, this just makes for really fantastic news coverage.”
This visit was one part of a larger plan called Operation Overlord, the codename for June 1944’s D-Day landings.
Newspapers covered the monarch’s visits to key attack formations in the months leading up to the attack but deliberately did not reveal their location in print.
This would “make the Nazis think they were doing the detective work”, according to the documentary.
Professor Aldrich said: “The crucial thing is it’s fragmentary.
“The Germans shouldn’t be given everything on a plate.
“The whole secret of deception is to get the Germans to work these things out for themselves.”