The royals are no strangers to being the subjects of documentaries about their lives and work – but it seems some have proved more controversial than others.
Earlier this week, Buckingham Palace, Clarence House and Kensington Palace took the rare step of issuing a joint statement about a recent programme on the BBC.
However, the royals hit out at the show for giving credibility to “overblown and unfounded claims” that negative stories about the Duchess of Sussex were leaked by courtiers and there was competitiveness between William and Harry’s respective households.
But it’s not the first time that a documentary about the Royal Family on the BBC has provoked a strong reaction.
Just years later, it was apparently ordered by the Queen that it could never be shown again and should be locked away in a vault.
But what was in the documentary and what prompted it to be locked away? Here we take a look…
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‘Royal Family’ was created by Richard Cawston for the BBC and, much like reality TV shows of today, a film crew followed the family for 12 months in the 1960s.
The two-hour film gave an insight into what the royals are like behind closed doors , showing them going about their normal lives.
Footage showed them chatting at the breakfast table, relaxing in their living room, carrying out royal tasks and looking at jewels.
In one part of the documentary, the Queen is seen taking Prince Edward, then aged four, to a grocery shop to buy an ice cream.
The Monarch can be seen chatting to the man behind the counter and taking money out of her purse, voicing concern that her son’s treat will cause a mess in the car.
Another clip shows the family having a barbecue, with Charles chopping lettuce for a salad.
The documentary was aired on June 21, 1969, with 37 million viewers settling down to watch it.
Despite drawing in a huge audience, shortly afterwards the Queen changed her mind about the film, deciding it was too “too intrusive” and ordered for it to be kept hidden in the BBC vaults.
The royals reportedly didn’t enjoy the experience of being filmed, and it’s said to be the reason the Queen decided against doing a televised Christmas Speech that year, reports the Telegraph .
And it wasn’t just the Queen who wasn’t happy with the footage.
Princess Anne also turned her nose up, later admitting: “I never liked the idea of ‘Royal Family’, I thought it was a rotten idea.
“The attention which had been brought upon one ever since one was a child, you just didn’t need any more.”
In the ABC documentary, The Story of the Royals, a number of royal experts debated why the footage was banished.
Royal biographer Hugo Vickers said: “Some people say that this would open the floodgates, and therefore after that all the sort of tabloid interest in them [would come after].
“They would want to know more, and more, and more.”
While Robert Lacey, historical consultant on Netflix show The Crown, explained: “They realised that if they did something like that too often, they would cheapen themselves, letting the magic seep out.”
Snippets of the film have been released for special occasions, including Prince Philip’s 90th birthday and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Queen also allowed the National Portrait Gallery to play a small clip.
“Legend has it that the Queen doesn’t want parts of it to be shown,” explained the National Portrait Gallery’s Paul Moorhouse.
“Regrettably, the film hasn’t been seen for a long time. It just disappeared. There is a reluctance for this to be revisited.”
Netflix and YouTube treatment
Despite the royals appearing to want to forget the documentary was ever shown, a whole new audience was introduced to it in 2019 thanks to The Crown.
The hit Netflix show dedicated a whole episode to the documentary depicting the royals reluctantly taking part in filming.
Meanwhile, in January 2019, t he whole documentary was leaked on YouTube, with thousands of fans tuning in to watch.
However, the video was swiftly removed with the page showing a message from YouTube explaining that it had been taken down following a copyright complaint from the BBC.
A BBC source told the Telegraph at the time: “We will approach YouTube to have it removed. We always exercise our copyright where we can.
“However, it is notoriously difficult to chase these things down on YouTube once they are out there. Anybody can download it and you just end up chasing your tail.”