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29th Jan 2021

‘Banned’ documentary about the Queen is leaked to YouTube

The film hasn’t been seen since 1977.

A documentary showing an unguarded looked at the Royal Family has leaked to YouTube, years after it was withdrawn from circulation.

The 1969 film Royal Family is a fly on the wall documentary following the Royals. It features the Queen attending an official audience and garden party, and having lunch with Richard Nixon, as well as much more mundane activities like the Royals having breakfast, watching television and the Queen buying Prince Edward an ice cream. It also includes footage of a royal tour of South America, and Princess Anne going to a North Sea oil rig.

The 110-minute film was originally aired on BBC 1 on 21 June 1969, and then on ITV a week later on 28 and 29 June. It was aired again in 1972 and 1977, and also screened in Australia and the USA.

According to The Telegraph, The Queen herself is said to have since ordered the film to be made unavailable, meaning it has not officially been seen since 1977.

However, earlier this week it found its way onto YouTube. It was quickly removed, but not before racking up thousands of views.

“This is a matter for the BBC”, a Royal source told The Telegraph. “From time to time, things pop up on the internet that should not be there. We will assume it’s going to be taken down.”

The Telegraph also reviewed Royal Family before it was taken down, saying it showed the family as “totally unguarded, [and] natural, non-media trained,” adding “the family don’t know how they are expected to behave on camera, so they just behave like themselves.”

The film was commissioned by Elizabeth II herself to celebrate the investiture of  Charles as Prince of Wales.

Royal Family is protected by Crown copyright. Small sections of it have been made available over the years, often in other documentaries such as the BBC’s The Duke at 90 in 2011.