Why Queen Elizabeth “banned” this 1969 document on the Royal Family

In the 1960s, the royal family welcomed BBC cameras behind closed doors for a year.

They soon regretted this decision.

The eye-catching document, aptly titled “The Royal Family,” premiered in June 1969 and was so poorly received by the family – the monarch reportedly found it “too intrusive” that it was reportedly banned from ever being aired again.

The program aimed to show the daily life of members of the royal family including Prince Philip, the Queen, who died on Thursday aged 96, and their children Princess Anne, Prince Edward, Prince Andrew and King Charles III ( then known as Prince Charles).

Other scenes showed the monarch on official engagements, her travels around the Commonwealth and her speeches to dignitaries.

It even included a private family moment that saw them barbecuing at Balmoral Castle, their vast country estate in Scotland.

1969: The Royal Family at Windsor, (from left) Prince Edward, the Duke of Edinburgh, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain, Princess Anne, Prince Charles and Prince Andrew. (Photo by Fox Photos/Getty Images)
Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth enjoy time together with their children Prince Edward (far left), Princess Anne (centre), now King Charles III. (right), and Prince Andrew (far right), in the 1960s.
Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth II lunching with Prince Philip and her children Princess Anne and Prince Charles at Windsor Castle in Berkshire circa 1969. A camera (left) is positioned to film for Richard Cawston's BBC documentary'Royal Family', which is dedicated to the royal family Family followed for a year and aired on June 21, 1969. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Queen Elizabeth has lunch with Prince Philip and her children Princess Anne (left) and King Charles III (right) at Windsor Castle.
Getty Images

The late Duke of Edinburgh – who died last April – commissioned the documentary to make the family seem less like an ancestral dynasty. The monarch was “initially unsure” about allowing the cameras into their homes, according to the Mirror.

The almost two-hour film was seen by 30 million people in 1969 and has been seen by 350 million people worldwide.


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It wasn’t until 2021 that the film was released on YouTube for fans and historians alike to analyze and watch. It is not known who posted the long-lost footage.

Princess Anne, 72, previously spoke about her dissatisfaction with the film, saying: “I never liked the idea of ​​the royal family film. I always thought that was a bad idea. You just didn’t want the attention you got as a child anymore. The last thing you needed was better access.”

Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in the third season of "The crown."
Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies as Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip in Season 3 of The Crown.
Sophie Mutevelian

Netflix’s The Crown even dramatized the onset of the ordeal during the Season 3 episode Bubbikins.

The episode addressed the company’s creation of the film as a PR exercise to create more positive public opinion.

“We’re being filmed on TV. People may be watching us at home on their own television sets. It really explores new depths of banality,” Helena Bonham Carter’s Princess Margaret remarked on the show.

“I would prefer to be private and out of sight, hidden and out of sight, for our own sanity and survival,” Olivia Colmans told Queen Elizabeth in another shot. “That [royal family must use] Mystery and protocol, not to separate us, but to keep us alive.”

https://nypost.com/2022/09/09/why-queen-elizabeth-banned-this-1969-doc-on-the-royal-family/ Why Queen Elizabeth “banned” this 1969 document on the Royal Family

Emma Bowman

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