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Royal documentary 'banned' by the Queen resurfaces online

Royal Family was locked away by the BBC in 1972

Jenni McKnight

A fly-on-the-wall documentary about the royal family has resurfaced online – 50 years after it was reportedly banned by the Queen.

The 1969 Richard Cawston film, Royal Family, followed the royals at home, but after repeated showings on TV, Her Majesty effectively ordered that it never be shown in public again without her permission.

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However, the 90-minute documentary – which offered the public an unprecedented glimpse into the private world of the royals – was leaked on YouTube earlier this month and has been viewed thousands of times since.

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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."

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

On its first release, the documentary was watched by some 23million people in the UK, and 350million worldwide. It was such a sensation that the Queen chose not to give a televised Christmas speech that year, issuing a written message instead.

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Royal Family gave viewers a glimpse into life at home for the royals

Filmed over the course of 12 months, it featured all sorts of royal moments – from the family watching TV and enjoying picnics, to the Queen working at her desk and royal tours abroad.

However, Her Majesty is reported to have regretted the decision to allow the cameras into her home, and Sir David Attenborough, then a BBC controller, is said to have told the filmmaker that the film risked "killing the monarchy".

Princess Anne even once made her feelings about the film clear, saying: "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."

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