Royal Family Documentary Banned by the Queen Resurfaces on YouTube

Screenshot from the long-banned 1969 BBC documentary ‘Royal Family’ which has resurfaced on YouTube
Screenshot from the long-banned 1969 BBC documentary ‘Royal Family’ which has resurfaced on YouTube
Screenshot: BBC/YouTube

In June of 1969, the BBC aired a documentary titled “Royal Family” that didn’t go over well with Buckingham Palace. In fact, Queen Elizabeth II banned the film and it hasn’t been seen since 1972. That is, until it was uploaded to YouTube this week.

Advertisement

The 1969 documentary, which was based on 43 hours of behind-the-scenes footage showing the royal family in normal situations, was uploaded to YouTube by an unknown user. The video was viewed just a few thousands times before it was taken down on Thursday due to someone filing a copyright complaint, according to a report from the Tatler.

What’s so scandalous about the film? It shows the royal family doing things like water skiing and barbecuing outdoors, a very obvious PR move to “humanize” the wealthy monarchs, according to the Tatler. But people who believe in monarchy don’t want their rulers to be too human. Kings and queens are supposed to be special. And scenes of the Queen buying ice cream for her son, only to complain that it will make a mess in the car, apparently weren’t well received by high class Brits. The Queen isn’t even supposed to handle money.

But the film does have immense historical value, with scenes of the Queen meeting with prime ministers from Jamaica and Tanzania. There’s even a scene of Queen Elizabeth meeting President Richard Nixon and having a casual conversation about travel, TV, and how much more complex the world had become since he last visited the UK in the 1950s.

The film is a far cry from the mid-1950s version of British monarchy that was presented to the world with Flight of the White Heron, a documentary released theatrically in 1954 that showed Queen Elizabeth touring the British Commonwealth countries, with all the pomp and circumstance you’d expect from such an endeavor.

The 1969 “Royal Family” documentary may have been pulled from YouTube, but once something rare has been uploaded once, it’s hard to get rid of it from the internet entirely. If you search YouTube right now, you’re still able to find copies of the film, as Gizmodo discovered by restricting our search to uploads that have occurred within the past day.

This one looks like it’s escaped, dear Queen. And you’ll find it very hard to suppress forever.

Advertisement

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog

DISCUSSION

arcanumv
Arcanum Five

Looks like the double-ohs are going to be busy this weekend!