In Season 3 of Netflix’s The Crown, Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies) decides to counter some negative publicity by inviting the BBC inside Buckingham Palace for a ground-breaking documentary about the royal family. The family participates, albeit reluctantly.
In real life this is mostly true. Prince Philip championed the idea with the Queen’s Press Secretary, William Heseltine. The objective was to show the royal family as relatable, real people and quite frankly the BBC did such a good job that it made certain members of the royal family uncomfortable.
After 75 days of shooting in 172 different locations and being seen by 40 million people worldwide… the Queen asked that the footage be locked in a vault for eternity… unless she changes her mind one day.
Imagine the palace’s surprise last week to discover that BBC‘s Royal Family documentary was secretly leaked on YouTube after 50 YEARS! It was almost immediately yanked down but not before 10,000 people had watched it.
I remember realizing that 10,000 people had seen it by the time that I stumbled upon it and wondering how many people had already saved the video file.
The answer is… PLENTY.
Despite removing the initial leak, hundreds of new copies have landed on YouTube making it virtually impossible to completely wipe a copy from the internet.
It is an emergency? I don’t think so. Although I feel like it’s disrespectful to the Queen, I don’t think the actual content hurts the family. They seem sweet and loving. Especially, surprisingly, Prince Charles.
My favorite scene is the Queen purchasing ice cream with the real star of the documentary, Prince Edward. Only second to Princess Anne yelling at Prince Andrew to get off of the ladder. Such a big sister sassy Anne moment. The movie does humanize these historic figures. It is fun to watch them engage with other world leaders, laugh around the dinner table, and decorate a Christmas tree. I have nothing negative to report after watching the movie but I understand that perhaps the Queen was uncomfortable with that kind of access to her. It had never been done before. And she changed her mind. That is ok… but I found myself more smitten by Queen Elizabeth. Her youth, her strength, her leadership… and it was exciting to see her as a mother.
The toothpaste is out of the tube. No going back. Time to embrace it and remember the experience fondly. Maybe Royal Family wasn’t such a terrible idea after all.