The Royal Family

Why the Queen STILL refuses to allow a 1969 documentary on the life of the royal to be aired ever again?

The Royal Family

In 1968 the Queen allowed cameras to follow the royal family for a two-hour documentary. But, the documentary was never released.

Wonder why that royal documentary was never released? Here’s the reason. 

The Queen has banned a candid two-hour documentary about the royals from 1969 from being aired to a new generation of viewers, as she’s worried about ‘letting the magic seep out’. In 1968, the Queen allowed cameras to follow the family for the ground-breaking BBC television documentary, Royal Family, a two-hour special that was watched by 40 million people around the world when it aired in 1969.

The Queen was seen having breakfast, making banal small-talk with America’s President Nixon, and regaling Philip, Charles and Princess Anne with an anecdote about Queen Victoria’s ‘incredible control’ when, at a Durbar, an Oriental potentate fell over and shot towards the throne feet-first.

Also read: Facts you didn’t know about Queen Elizabeth’s sister, Princess Margaret.

But the monarch has never allowed it to be shown since, and in a recent ABC documentary, The Story Of The Royals, experts revealed why Her Majesty is so reluctant to allow the footage to be seen. One of the Royal experts revealed: ‘They realised that if they did something like that too often, they would cheapen themselves, letting the magic seep out ‘

Some people say that this would open the floodgates, and therefore after that all the sort of tabloid interest in them [would come after],’ royal biographer Hugo Vickers added. ‘They would want to know more, and more, and more.’

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In a 2011 exhibition, The Queen: Art And Image, at the National Portrait ­Gallery, Buckingham Palace restricted organisers to only using a 90-­second clip from the film. The film and 38 hours of unused footage remain in the Royal Archives at Windsor, where it’s off-limits even to the most serious historical researchers. 

The Queen consulted her shrewd mother, the one member of the family whose judgment on matters of public relations was considered impeccable. The Queen Mother was vehemently opposed to the plan and told friends she thought it was ‘the most ­terrible idea’.

In the end, it was Prince Philip’s self-serving and self-publicising uncle, Lord Mountbatten — who was, disastrously, to become Prince Charles’s principal mentor — who talked the Queen into authorising the film.

Also read: Watch these British royal family documentaries on Netflix and Amazon.

The Queen, who was supposed never to carry money, was in the film seen buying sweets in a shop for her four-year-old son Edward. The voyeuristic fascination engendered by these very ­personal and politically incorrect episodes gave birth, with a vengeance, to the royal ­gossip mill, and after Cawston’s film, media coverage of the Queen and her family would never be the same again.

And when the marriages of the Queen’s children got into terminal difficulties, it became impossible to hide the truth from the media, because Buckingham Palace had already invited the cameras to peep inside the royal doors and examine their private lives.

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