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Fact Check-Royal family did not try to censor image of Queen at Welsh ceremony

Social media users have been sharing a photo that they say shows a druidic high priestess preparing Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II for her coronation. The caption wrongly suggests the royal family has been trying to censor the image.

The photograph actually shows the then Princess Elizabeth at a cultural event in Wales in 1946, more than six years before her coronation. There has also been no attempt to hide or censor it. It is widely available online, including on the Royal family’s own website.

Posts visible here and here include the caption: “Queen Elizabeth just prior to her coronation getting led by a Druidic high priestess in preparation for her enthronement ceremony, this is a very rare pic that the house of Windsor has attempted to censure.”

The caption on the original photo, seen here on Getty Images, explains that the picture shows the then Princess Elizabeth being led by “an acolyte to Archdruid Crwys Williams” for her initiation into the “Mystic Circle of Bards” in Wales on August 6, 1946.

The “Mystic Circle of Bards”, or the “Gorsedd of the Bards” as it is more commonly known, is an association of poets, writers, artists and other people who have made a significant contribution to Wales, its culture and the Welsh language. Its main objective is to develop and promote Welsh poetry, literature, music and art (here , eisteddfod.wales/gorsedd-bards , www.gorsedd.cymru/). They are led by the “Archdruid,” the presiding official of the group. The Queen was being initiated as an “Honorary Ovate” the highest order of merit in the Gorsedd.

A photo from this ceremony in 1946 is publicly displayed as part of the Royal Collection of art owned by the British royal family, here on the website of the Royal Collection Trust charity (www.rct.uk/about), which oversees the Royal Collection.

A video of the ceremony published by British Pathe can be seen here ; more photos from the ceremony are visible on Getty Images here ; her involvement is mentioned on the National Museum of Wales website here ; and news reports also mention that the Queen was initiated into the Gorsedd here and that she was stripped of her title in 2019 as she does not speak Welsh here and here .

VERDICT

Partly false. The photo shows the Queen being initiated as an Honorary Ovate to the Gorsedd of the Bards in Wales in 1946, six years before her coronation. The royals have not attempted to censor the photo.

This article was produced by the Reuters Fact Check team. Read more about our fact-checking work here .

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