Why we’re talking about . . .

What is in the Royal Family film the Queen doesn’t want you to see?

YouTube removes fly-on-the-wall documentary that has been ‘banned’ for 50 years

A behind-the-scenes documentary about the Royal Family has resurfaced on YouTube 50 years after it was first aired - before being quickly removed on copyright grounds.

More than 30 million people watched the 105-minute film when it was first broadcast in 1969, but the Queen reportedly “regretted giving the BBC behind-the-scenes access and requested it never be broadcast again”, The Times reports.

The documentary was based on 43 hours of footage filmed over a year, however, “senior figures feared that the protective veil surrounding the royal family, and its mystique, had been torn away” by the unfiltered insight into their lives, the paper adds.

In one scene, the Queen is heard referring to the then-American ambassador as a “gorilla”, adding that “it’s extremely difficult sometimes to keep a straight face” in his company.

Prince Philip is recorded saying that his father-in-law, King George VI, “had very odd habits”, admitting: “Sometimes I thought he was mad.” The Duke of Edinburgh is also seen asking a decorated war veteran: “What’s that tie? Alcoholics Anonymous?”

The film also includes footage of a bare-chested Prince Charles water-skiing and a young Prince Edward asking his mother for an ice cream. “This disgusting gooey mess is going to be in the car, isn’t it?”, the Queen replies.

The Times says that the Royals had originally hoped the documentary would “build public support for an increase in funding”, but instead the film presented the monarchy as “particularly out of sync with the rest of society”, Sky News adds.

The finished film was considered by the Queen and her advisors to have “cheapen[ed] the Royal Family”, the Daily Mail continues, prompting the film to be placed under “lock and key” ever since. 

Who owns the copyright remains an issue of some contention, the paper adds, with “the Queen’s former press secretary insist[ing] it is retained by the BBC” despite “researchers having to pay to view it at BBC HQ, only after getting permission from Buckingham Palace”.

Recommended

‘There are already many caveats on our freedoms in the name of collective safety’
A vaccination centre in London
Instant Opinion

‘There are already many caveats on our freedoms in the name of collective safety’

How many people need to be vaccinated against Covid to get life back to normal?
Margaret Keenan becomes the first patient in the UK to receive the Pfizer/BioNtech vaccine
In Focus

How many people need to be vaccinated against Covid to get life back to normal?

Why half of the UK’s police stations have closed in past decade
A closed police station in Hackney
In Brief

Why half of the UK’s police stations have closed in past decade

Race to track down UK patient infected with Brazil Covid strain
A traveller leaves the Heathrow Radisson Blu after completing the quarantine period
The latest on . . .

Race to track down UK patient infected with Brazil Covid strain

Popular articles

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021
Line of Duty series six returns to BBC One in 2021
In Depth

Best TV crime dramas to watch in 2021

Quiz of The Week
Boris Johnson chairs a session of the UN Security Council
Quizzes and puzzles

Quiz of The Week

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2021
10 Downing Street
Daily Briefing

Ten Things You Need to Know Today: 1 March 2021