The royal family are often the subject of numerous TV documentaries, films and drama series such as The Crown. But there are other times when the royals sit down for candid interviews – and many have been eye-opening.
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In light of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle sitting down for a no holds barred interview with Oprah Winfrey this weekend to discuss life after walking away from their roles as senior members of the royal family, we've taken a look back at some other royal interviews that have been considered controversial.
While the circumstances surrounding these interviews and documentaries are all vastly different to each other, they're all equally as eyebrow raising and have made headlines for various reasons. See our roundup below...
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Royal Family – BBC film
In the late 1960s, producers at the BBC and ITV took their camera crew to Buckingham Palace to film the domestic lives of the royal family. The documentary film detailed aspects of their everyday routines such as eating at a dinner table, and even saw Her Majesty the Queen buying a young Prince Edward an ice-cream using money from her purse.
The documentary, shot in 1969 and titled Royal Family, aired in June of the same year and was viewed by millions. However, the palace then decided to take a U-turn and pull the movie from being broadcast. It is thought that the Queen put a request to bosses at the broadcasters that the film never again be shown to audiences after deciding that giving such unprecedented and intimate access was a mistake.
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The documentary aired in 1969 but was never shown again
Princess Diana's Panorama interview
In November 1995, Princess Diana sat down with BBC journalist Martin Bashir for an interview widely regarded as one of the most significant in UK broadcasting history. The programme saw the late royal discuss her time within the royal family, including her divorce from Prince Charles and his previous affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, which saw her state the now famous phrase: "There were three of us in this marriage".
The Panorama interview has been in the news once again of late due to the Metropolitan Police's decision to no longer press forward with a criminal investigation into Martin Bashir after allegations of "unlawful activity" regarding his acquiring of the interview came to light in recent months.
Diana's famous 1995 Panorama interview
Prince Andrew on BBC Newsnight
In November 2019, Prince Andrew sat down with Newsnight presenter and BBC journalist Emily Maitlis for an interview regarding the Duke of York's alleged close friendship with billionaire sex offender Jeffery Epstein and alleged criminal Ghislaine Maxwell – who is currently under investigation.
The Duke denied any involvement or knowledge of Jeffery's crimes during the interview. The programme was widely regarded as controversial due to his answers and the subject matter itself, and was described as "explosive" afterwards by Emily.
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Prince Andrew spoke to Emily Maitlis on Newsnight
After the interview aired, Prince Andrew stepped back from royal duties, issuing a statement at the time saying: "I have asked Her Majesty if I may step back from public duties for the foreseeable future, and she has given her permission. I continue to unequivocally regret my ill-judged association with Jeffrey Epstein.
"His suicide has left many unanswered questions, particularly for his victims, and I deeply sympathise with everyone who has been affected and wants some form of closure. I can only hope that, in time, they will be able to rebuild their lives. Of course, I am willing to help any appropriate law enforcement agency with their investigations, if required."
Prince Charles' interview with David Dimbleby
In 1994, two years after the separation between Prince Charles and Diana was announced, the Prince of Wales sat down for an intimate conversation with BBC journalist David Dimbleby. It was during this interview that Charles admitted publicly for the first time that he had conducted an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles during his marriage to Princess Diana.
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Prince Charles opened up about his separation from Diana in an interview
Diana: In Her Own Words
The Diana: In Her Own Words film, released in 2017, came off the back of the Andrew Morton book of the same name that was published some thirteen years earlier and sent shockwaves across the nation for brutal honesty. The book and film details Diana's early life and childhood as well her life in the royal family, her marriage and its subsequent breakdown. Along with voice notes from the late royal herself and archive footage, it provided an extensive look into the life and troubles she faced.
Diana: In Her Own Words gave an insight into her life as a royal
Oprah with Meghan and Harry: A CBS Primetime Special
Last month, it was announced that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex would be sitting down for a tell-all interview with Oprah Winfrey for CBS. The interview, which was pre-recorded and will air on Monday 8 March for UK audiences, will see the couple detail their lives and journey to the US after deciding to step back as senior members of the royal family.
Meghan and Harry's interview with Oprah is airing this weekend
A number of teaser clips have been released to promote the interview, one of which sees Meghan describe "The Firm" as "perpetuating falsehoods". She tells Oprah: "I don't know how they could expect that, after all of this time, we would still just be silent if there is an active role that The Firm is playing in perpetuating falsehoods about us."
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