An infamous 1969 fly-on-the-wall documentary about the British royal family, supposedly banned by Queen Elizabeth II for decades for giving the public an overly intimate view of the royals, has been mysteriously leaked onto YouTube.
The priduction provided an unprecedented look inside the royal households and was watched by millions when it first aired on the BBC.
But it was subsequently stashed in the corporation’s archives, reportedly at the request of Buckingham Palace, and hasn’t been aired since the 70s.
It isn’t known how the program, titled “Royal Family,” was unearthed or who posted it to YouTube.
Both Buckingham Palace and the BBC wanted the film to remain under wraps and so YouTube removed it for copyright infringement, RT reported.
A BBC spokesperson declined to comment to CNN on the video’s sudden re-appearance, but the corporation did not dispute reports that it had submitted the copyright claim that led to its removal from YouTube
Prior to the leak on YouTube, the documentary was brought back into the public’s attention this past year by the hit Netflix show The Crown, which dramatized the making of the film and portrayed the royals’ displeasure at having TV cameras inside their palaces
“The mystique of Britain’s royal family wore off a long time ago, and the resurfacing of a banned documentary, which provides an inside look at the Windsors’ life, can’t tarnish their reputation any more than they’ve done already.”
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Michael McCaffrey writer and cultural critic who lives in Los Angeles.
In the film, the British monarch reportedly compares the US ambassador to a gorilla.
“There was a gorilla. I had the most terrible trouble … he had short body, long arms.”
The PA Media news agency quoted her as saying “Other, more mundane scenes, showing the royals eating together and the Queen rummaging in her purse to buy six-year-old Prince Edward candy in a shop, were considered groundbreaking for showing the famously opaque family in a new light.
“This disgusting gooey mess is going to be in the car, isn’t it?” the Queen declares, according to PA.
The 110-minute film was watched by 30 million people in 1969, and remains one of the UK’s most-viewed television broadcasts.
The BBC estimates more than 350 million watched it worldwide after the royals granted the broadcaster unique access to film their everyday lives.
The purpose of Royal Family was to humanize the royals and make them relatable, to show “they’re just like the rest of us,” said McCaffrey.
“That premise doesn’t fare so well when the Queen goes through her stunning jewelry collection, marveling at the glorious history of pillaging that has bequeathed her such impressive accoutrements.”
Princess Anne, the Queen’s daughter, later spoke of her unhappiness with the program.
“I never liked the idea of the royal family film. I always thought it was a rotten idea,” she said, according to PA.
McCaffrey’s parting shot though is brutal.
“The film doesn’t ‘cheapen’ the royal family at all. The thing that has cheapened the royal family these past 50 years has been their sordid, low-rent behaviour.”
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