The Untold Truth Of The 1969 Royal Family Documentary The Queen Banned


There’s no single, definite answer as to why “Royal Family” disappeared from public accessibility, and it’s something that seems even stranger to 21st century viewers, who are accustomed to high-profile figures making messes over themselves on social media all the time. After all, there’s nothing too terrible about the documentary — except, perhaps, the casual way Elizabeth points to fist-sized jewels and requests clothing to be made in the same color. Eye-roll inducing, perhaps, but not career-ending. So what was the big deal?

One hint comes via David Attenborough, who was the controller of BBC2 at the time the documentary was broadcast. He cautioned against revealing too much of the inner workings of the royal family, warning (via the Independent), “The whole [monarchy] depends on mystique and the tribal chief in his hut. If any member of the tribe ever sees inside the hut, then the whole system of tribal chiefdom is damaged and the tribe eventually disintegrates.”

Journalist Clive Irving has similar things to say in a piece for the Daily Beast. He wrote that although Queen Elizabeth was a highly recognized and widely known figure, few people knew who she actually was. She never expressed things such as her personal political views, for example, and there was little to separate her from the images that appeared on currency and postage stamps. The documentary, Irvings suggests, was something a little too personal that broke the distant, regal majesty of the monarchy.


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