The Queen banned a royal documentary 50 years ago but the rare show has finally been leaked

The Queen banned controversial show 50 years ago and it has resurfaced online

The Queen - Not Amused! - At The Royal Windsor Horse Show In Her 'back Garden' At Windsor Castle
(Image credit: Tim Graham / Contributor Getty)

The Queen banned a royal documentary after it's claimed she did not wish the BBC to broadcast the fly-on-the-wall style look at the monarch and her family anymore.

There are some of the best documentaries on the royal family kicking around but the controversial documentary in question is the 1969 Richard Cawston film, Royal Family, and it followed the royals at home.

At the time it was repeatedly shown on TV, but in 1972 Her Majesty effectively ordered that it never be shown in public again without her permission.

But 50 years later and the 90-minute documentary, which gave the public a rare insight into the private world of the royals, was leaked on YouTube this month and has so far been viewed thousands of times since. One will not be amused.

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A royal source told The Telegraph, "This is a matter for the BBC. 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."

But by Thursday afternoon, the documentary had indeed been taken down from the site "due to a copyright claim by British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC)".

When it was first released the documentary attracted some 23 million views in the UK and 350 million worldwide.

It reportedly caused such a stir that Her Majesty decided not to give a televised Christmas speech, and issued a written message instead.

The original footage was filmed over 12 months and featured all kinds of private royal moments - from the family watching TV and enjoying picnics, to the Queen working at her desk and camera crews even accompanied her on royal tours abroad.

But it's understood the Queen regretted the decision to allow the cameras into her home. 

Sir David Attenborough, who has recently bid farewell to Instagram just months after joining, was a BBC controller back in the 1960s and he is said to have told the filmmaker that it risked "killing the monarchy".

And the Queen wasn't the only one who was unhappy with the film's impact. Princess Anne once admitted, "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 anymore."

Selina is a Senior Entertainment Writer with more than 14 years of experience in newspapers and magazines. She currently looks after all things Entertainment for GoodtoKnow, Woman&Home and My Imperfect Life.

Before joining Future Publishing, Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism. She is fully NCTJ and NCE qualified and has 100wpm shorthand. Having spent the start of her career working on local newspapers and online, Selina spent six years as Acting News Editor and Entertainment Reporter at the Scunthorpe Telegraph where she dug into hard news stories, conducted interviews, covered court reporting, features, and entertainment, whilst going to gigs in her spare time.

Whilst at the paper she was awarded an O2 Media Judges' Special Award for helping a terminally ill cancer sufferer realise his dying wish and marry his childhood sweetheart through a successful newspaper campaign. Things like this are close to her heart when it comes to using journalism to make a positive difference in people's lives.

Selina later branched further into all things celebrity to became a Showbiz Writer at Heat magazine, covering red carpet events, showbiz parties, and various launches before going freelance for two years. One of her biggest celebrity achievements - aside from generating celebrity exclusives - was interviewing Take That (including Robbie Williams) and bumping into Simon Cowell so much at events she told him 'I'm calling you my showbiz dad!'

In 2017 she joined TI Media as a senior reporter on Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, Woman's Weekly celebrity desk before branching online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first.

When she's not interviewing celebrities you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories.