Royal Documentary Reportedly Banned by the Queen Is Leaked Online: 5 Key Moments

An infamous '60s documentary starring Queen Elizabeth II and her family was leaked online. Here are five key moments from the film, which shows candid scenes of the monarch and her loved ones.

By Corinne Heller Jan 30, 2021 8:33 PMTags
Watch: Royal Documentary Reportedly Banned by the Queen Gets Leaked Online

Ever ask yourself, what if The Crown met reality TV...

Well, wonder no more. In 1969, the BBC aired an infamous documentary called Royal Family that offered a rare, intimate look at the lives of Queen Elizabeth II, husband Prince Philip, and their children Prince CharlesPrincess AnnePrince Andrew and Prince Edward. The family had granted the network unique access to film their everyday lives, as at the time, they were seen as being out of touch with regular society, CNN said. But the queen reportedly later regretted the documentary and requested that it be locked in the BBC archives, The Independent reported.

Royal Family, which was co-produced by ITV, recently leaked on YouTube, although a copyright claim was quickly made to remove it. The footage has both shocked and amused new generations of audiences, and many viewers have compared its candid scenes to those portrayed in The Crown. Incidentally, on the third season of Netflix's hit drama series about the queen, her husband and her children, the family films the documentary and expresses annoyance at having TV cameras inside their home. 

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Buckingham Palace has declined to comment about the recent leak of the documentary or its contents. Here are five key moments from Royal Family:

1. The Queen Calls a Man a "Gorilla" (Behind His Back):

In one scene, the queen dines with Philip, Charles and Anne at a small round table. The monarch discusses a meeting with a man an official previously described to her as a "gorilla," as her family laughs.

"It's extremely difficult sometimes to keep a straight face...he came in beforehand like they do and he said to me, 'There's a gorilla coming in.' So I said to him, 'An extraordinary remark to make, very unkind, about anybody,'" the monarch says. "I stood in the middle of the room and pressed the bell, and the doors opened and there was a gorilla! And I had the most terrible trouble in keeping- you know, he had a short body and long arms. And I had the most appalling trouble."

"If that happened to me," Charles replies, "I would dissolve and walk out."

Buckingham Palace and the BBC declined to comment on the scene, according to The Huffington Post. There is no explanation as to whom the queen was talking about.

2. Family Picnic:

The documentary also shows the queen and her family having a picnic during a trip to a lake. Philip and Anne set up and attend the barbecue and grill sausages and large slabs of steak as Edward asks his dad about what the spatula, or a "spoon," as he calls it, is used for.

The little boy is later seen sitting and lying on his stomach on top of the roof of the family's car, shouting happily, "I climbed on the roof, Papa!"

Charles dresses a salad he helped prepare and chats with his mother. He says, "I cut the lettuce." At the prince's request to taste the dressing, the queen dips her finger into the liquid, licks it, and declares it to be too "oily."

"The salad is ready," the queen later tells her husband. He looks at his undercooked steak and says, "Good. This, as you see, isn't."

3. Merry Christmas:

In another scene, the family trims a giant Christmas tree. Anne sternly tells Andrew to get off a step-ladder, to which he loudly refuses.

4. Poor Edward:

In another scene, Charles shows Edward how a cello works and one of the strings accidentally snaps in the face of the little child, who rubs his ear and starts to get upset. This is the only scene that Philip was unhappy with after he watched a rough cut of the documentary, according to The Independent. However, the queen said the scene could stay, the newspaper reported.

5. How About Some Ice Cream?

In another scene, the queen shops at a small store with Edward and buy him candy and an ice cream bar. She pays in cash—coins, to be exact—a rare sight for any royal. As her son later enters their vehicle, she tells him, "This disgusting gooey mess is going to be in the car, isn't it?"

See photos from Royal Family:


A Long, Long Time Ago... 1969, Queen Elizabeth II and her family starred in an authorized BBC documentary titled Royal Family. After it aired, the monarch reportedly requested it never be broadcast again. But in January 2021, it was leaked on YouTube.

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne

The monarch dines with her husband and their two eldest children.

Princess Margaret, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones and David Armstrong-Jones

The queen's sister is shown here with her two children during filming.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

The couple admire their Christmas tree.

Prince Philip

The queen's husband and Duke of Edinburgh is seen working at one of his lesser known hobbies, painting, during filming.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip

The queen appears with her husband on a private plane.