Ricky Gervais Defends Queen Elizabeth After Photos Surface of Her Giving the Nazi Salute as a Young Girl

Ricky Gervais Defends Queen Elizabeth After Photos Surface of Her Nazi Salute
Ricky Gervais and Queen Elizabeth II
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07/18/2015 AT 01:50 PM EDT

British comedian Ricky Gervais derided The Sun for publishing of decades-old photos showing a young Queen Elizabeth II giving the Nazi salute.

"If the Queen does another Nazi Salute let me know about it. Until then...she was 7 and it didn't even have it's eventual context. Not news," Gervais, 54, Tweeted, followed by:

"Now I'm terrified someone is going to dig up a photo of me praying when I was 7."

(Gervais is an outspoken atheist.)



The photos, published by Britain's The Sun newspaper Saturday, are stills taken from a 1933 home video. The 17-second video shows the queen, now 89 and then a young girl, with her mother, sister Princess Margaret and uncle and future king Edward VIII in the garden at the family’s Scottish retreat, Balmoral.

Buckingham Palace slammed the publication of the photos as "disappointing" and "exploitative."

"Most people will see these pictures in their proper context and time," a royal source told PEOPLE. "This is a family playing and momentarily referencing a gesture many would have seen from contemporary news reels. No one at that time had any sense how it would evolve. To imply anything else is misleading and dishonest."

Queen Elizabeth's Changing Looks



The newspaper defended its coverage, saying it has historical significance.

In one editorial, the paper's staff wrote, "The man who briefly became our King was already a fan of Hitler – and remained so as late as 1970, long after the Holocaust’s horrors were laid bare."

Gervais soon spun his own attacks into jokes.

"Remember, this was before Michael Jackson's Thriller had all those awful implications," he Tweeted.



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