For the 27 million people who watched the Queen act alongside James Bond in the 2012 London Olympic opening ceremony, or the six million people who watch her Christmas speech every year – it might come as a surprise that the Queen has kept one of her most notable TV appearances under lock and key for nearly 40 years.
Viewers of episode 4, season 3 of The Crown, will see how a documentary made in 1969 about the British royal family was withdrawn from broadcast by Her Majesty after only three public viewings, following of widespread criticism.
The Netflix drama follows the Queen, played by Olivia Colman, and her close family as they organise scripts and film scenes over the course of a year of their lives, before eventually watching it air — and dealing with the ensuing fallout. But did it really happen?
Viewers may be surprised to learn that the 110-minute film, titled Royal Family, was indeed filmed and subsequently taken off air by the Queen. In 2019, it continues to fall under the crown’s copyright, meaning it hasn’t been shown in public since 1972.
How did the film come about?
Towards the end of the “swinging sixties” the royal family felt increasingly out of touch with the new liberal mood of the country. Journalist Malcolm Muggeridge appeared on American television in 1964, telling viewers: “The English are getting bored with their monarchy.” Continue reading