Back in the 1960s the Queen welcomed cameras into her home to film a behind-the-scenes documentary about her family, giving an unprecedented insight into their private lives.
The film crew spent 18 months following the Monarch, Prince Philip and their children getting clips of them doing day-to-day things like chatting at the breakfast table and relaxing in their living room.
Richard Cawston’s two hour documentary ‘Royal Family’ aired on the BBC on June 21, 1969, with 37 million viewers settling down to watch.
But shortly afterwards the Queen changed her mind, deciding it was too “too intrusive” and ordered for the film to be kept hidden in the BBC vaults.
And it wasn’t just the Queen who wasn’t happy with the footage.
Princess Anne also turned her nose up, later admitting: “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.”
The decision to pull the footage features in season three of The Crown, where Olivia Colman plays the Queen.
Michael Bradsell, the film’s editor, revealed he was initially hesitant about sharing his work with Her Majesty.
“We were all a little bit nervous of showing it to the Queen because we had no idea what she would make of it,” he told Smithsonian Channel, who uploaded a clip of the documentary on YouTube.
“She was a little critical of the film in the sense she thought it was too long, but Dick Cawston, the director, persuaded her two hours was not a minute too long.”
ABC’s The Story of the Royals focused on the documentary, and a number of experts debated why the footage was banished.
Ryal biographer Hugo Vickers said: “Some people say that this would open the floodgates, and therefore after that all the sort of tabloid interest in them [would come after].
“They would want to know more, and more, and more.”
Robert Lacey, historical consultant on Netflix show The Crown, explained: “They realised that if they did something like that too often, they would cheapen themselves, letting the magic seep out.”
Snippets of the film have been released for special occasions, including Prince Philip’s 90th birthday and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. The Queen also allowed the National Portrait Gallery to play a small clip.
“Legend has it that the Queen doesn’t want parts of it to be shown,” explained the National Portrait Gallery’s Paul Moorhouse.
“Regrettably, the film hasn’t been seen for a long time. It just disappeared. There is a reluctance for this to be revisited.”