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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”.

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