The royal family are known for having a carefully curated public persona – they tend to keep things nice and neutral, with an air of mystery (which is why it’s so exciting when we get to hear little tidbits about their personalities, or the traditional ‘rules’ that they have to follow, which seem so farfetched in comparison to our own lives).
However, back in 1969, the Queen, Prince Philip and their four children (Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward) took part in a fly-on-the-wall documentary for the BBC, which pulled in a mammoth 350 million viewers worldwide when it aired. Much to the Queen’s dismay though, the response wasn’t favourable, with many criticising the family for being overly privileged and ‘out of touch’ with the real world.
One scene showed Prince Philip demanding to be flown between public engagements, rather than driving, and another featured the Queen being less than complimentary about a US ambassador’s appearance. So yeah, a tad awkward.
It also showed the family having a barbecue together at Balmoral, along with Prince Edward asking the Queen if he could have some ice cream and Her Majesty and Philip carrying out their official royal duties.
Said backlash to the programme prompted the Queen to ban it from being available to watch… until last month, when it was briefly leaked in full on YouTube via an account named Philip Strangeways. The BBC report that it was apparently watched 10,000 times before it was removed due to a “copyright claim”. (Can anyone else now just hear Pam from Gavin & Stacey saying “It’s all the drama Mick, I just love it!”?)
Since then though, such is the way of the internet, the footage has been cloned and is apparently now available to watch from several other accounts, presumably if you just search out the words ‘BBC royal family documentary 1969’.
For royal fans hoping to get their telly fix elsewhere, next month is set to be a good one, with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s interview with Oprah Winfrey airing… on the same day as a Commonwealth Day celebratory programme, featuring the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Ooohhhh, it’s gonna be good!
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