REVEALED: The truth behind why Queen Elizabeth still refuses to allow 1969 BBC documentary on Royal family to air
'Royal Family', a is in the Royal Archives at Windsor, and it is off-limits to even the most serious historical researchers.
The British royal family is scrupulous about what it shows the public of its private sphere. While understandable in itself, sometime the reasons given ca be quite strange. Take for example, a 1969 BBC documentary on the royal family that Queen Elizabeth has banned from airing to a new generation of viewers as she is worried about "letting the magic seep out," claims the Daily Mail.
In 1968, the Queen had reportedly allowed cameras to trail the royal family for the ground-breaking BBC television documentary, 'Royal Family'. The two-hour special was watched by around 40 million people around the world when it aired in 1969. But it has never been aired since then as the Queen believes it would "cheapen" the royal family.
In the documentary, the Queen is seen having breakfast and making small talk with the then American President Richard Nixon, along with footage of her speaking to Prince Philip, Charles, and Princess Anne about the time Queen Victoria showed "incredible control" when, at a Durbar, an Oriental potentate fell over and shot towards the throne feet-first.
Now in a new documentary, 'The Story of the Royals', royal experts have tried to reveal why the Queen has been so reluctant about the previously shot footage to be made public.
Robert Lacey, a historical consultant on 'The Crown', explained: "They realized 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."
Footage from the documentary was last seen in a 2011 exhibition, 'The Queen: Art And Image', at the National Portrait Gallery, Buckingham Palace, but it was strictly confined to a 90-second clip at the time, as per reports.
The film currently is in the Royal Archives at Windsor, and it is off-limits to even the most serious historical researchers.
It was Lord Mountbatten’s son-in-law, the film producer Lord Brabourne, who came up with the idea for the documentary in 1968, for he felt that the royal family would inherently benefit from being seen by the public as being more modern and informal. The Queen was somewhat adverse to the idea, and the Queen Mother, who was the ultimate authority on matters of public relations, also opposed it vehemently, calling it "the most terrible idea".
Finally, it was Prince Philip’s uncle, Lord Mountbatten, who was also the principal mentor for Prince Charles, who managed to convince the Queen to take part in the shooting for the documentary. Richard Cawston, then head of the BBC’s documentary department, was given full access to Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Sandringham and Balmoral for more than a year, where he managed to shoot almost 43 hours of raw footage of the Queen’s private and official life.
The final version of the film was a 105-minute color documentary, which was screened to a worldwide audience of 40 million on June 21, 1969, ahead of the investiture of Charles as Prince of Wales at Caernarvon Castle.
One of the scenes in the film is of the Queen and Charles preparing a salad at Balmoral, while Philip and Anne grilled sausages and steaks. The footage shows the Queen poking her little finger into the salad dressing, saying, "Oh, too oily." She then proceeds to add more vinegar to the dressing, and announces, "Well, the salad is finished." But Philip, after gazing at the uncooked meat, simply said, "Well done. This, as you will observe, is not."
The documentary also features Philip's comments on King George VI, something that would cause quite an uproar if the documentary was released to the public once again. "He had very odd habits," said Philip. "Sometimes I thought he was mad."
In another scene, the Queen is seen asking her family, "How do you keep a regally straight face when a footman tells you: 'Your Majesty, your next audience is with a gorilla?' It was an official visitor, but he looked just like a gorilla."
It is because of such personal and politically incorrect episodes which only end up in giving birth to the royal gossip mill that the Queen feels that the documentary is practically unfit for the new generation to watch the life and times of the royal family and its members back in the day.