A fly-on-the-wall royal family documentary was hidden in 1972 after fears that they appeared "too normal"

Royal family
(Image credit: Getty Images)

A fly-on-the-wall royal documentary from 1969 became even more famous after it was hidden by the royal family, going 50 years without being seen.

Royal Family was locked away by the BBC in 1972 for fears that it made the Mountbatten-Windsors appear too normal and according to some, "risked killing the monarchy".

The late Queen is reported to have personally intervened to bar the fly-on-the-wall documentary from ever resurfacing, following its broadcast in 1969. 

Despite giving permission for her family to be followed by cameras for 18 months, Her Majesty reportedly decided that some of the more intimate revelations within the film – for example, the royals storing their breakfast cereals in Tupperware containers – were far too intrusive, and such candid insights could horrify the general public.

Despite the film achieving its goal of strengthening public support, the Queen and her advisors decided that "being too normal was as dangerous as being too different" and so it’s under strict instruction to never be shared with the public again.

After years of being locked away in the Royal Archives, the documentary was leaked on YouTube two years ago, gaining thousands of views. It has since been taken down.

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

The footage, which is said to include domestic scenes of the late Duke of Edinburgh frying sausages at a Balmoral barbecue whilst a young King Charles (then Prince Charles) prepares a salad, is proving popular. And while the documentary is now back in the Royal Archives, it might be the perfect time to re-release it and remind us of the royal family's relatable side.

For now though, we’ll just have to be satisfied with the small clips we’ve got.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.

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