Documentary on British royal family resurfaces on YouTube after 50 years

Documentary on British royal family resurfaces on YouTube after 50 years

A fly-on-the-wall, restricted documentary about the royal family mysteriously resurfaced on YouTube 50 years and was quickly removed from the site

Recently, BBC found itself in a row with Buckingham Palace over the leak on YouTube of a 1969 fly-on-the-wall documentary about the royal family, famously banned by the Queen from ever being shown again.

In 1972, the Queen ordered the BBC’s documentary, Royal Family, with intimate scenes of the monarch having breakfast from Tupperware containers and shirtless Prince Charles on a jetski, to be locked away and not aired again because it ‘cheapens the royal family’.

The original documentary remained restricted, and although there has been some debate over who owns the copyright, the Queen’s former press secretary insists it is retained by the BBC, with researchers having to pay to view it at BBC HQ, only after getting permission from Buckingham Palace first. 

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However, weeks ago the full 110-minute footage leaked on YouTube, with thousands of people watching it. The making of the infamous documentary has featured in The Crown season 3.

While speaking to the Telegraph, a royal source noted, “This is a matter for the BBC. We always exercise our copyright where we can. 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 Queen’s former Press Secretary Dickie Arbiter told MailOnline: “The palace will have a version of it, they have one from every broadcaster as they’re sent down and they’re securely locked up, but how this one got out is for the BBC to sort out.

‘Somebody obviously nicked it from the BBC – it was a BBC documentary done with the corporation of the Royal Family, and it’s BBC copyright. They made it, their equipment, their people, Antony Jay’s script, so it was their copyright. But how it got out, that’s something they’ll have to find out.”

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A BBC source told The Telegraph, “We will approach YouTube to have it removed. We always exercise our copyright where we can. However, it is notoriously difficult to chase these things down on YouTube once they are out there. Anybody can download it and you just end up chasing your tail.”

The video appears to have been uploaded to YouTube by a new account in the name of Philip Strangeways, a reference to a mystery organisation called HM Government Public Service Films. 

A YouTube spokesperson told FEMAIL, “This video has been removed due to a copyright claim. YouTube has copyright and content management tools to give rights holders control of their content on YouTube. When a copyright claim is filed we remove the content immediately, as is the case with this upload.”

The documentary was viewed by 45million people when it was first broadcasted, ahead of Prince Charles’ investiture, and was initially created to help the Windsors connect with their subjects. The film was a British phenomenon, watched over two weekends to rave reviews in June 1969, but was last shown three years later after Buckingham Palace feared it ‘let the magic out’ about the royals. 

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According to DailyMail, even in an exhibition, The Queen: Art And Image, at the National Portrait ­Gallery, Buckingham Palace restricted the organisers to only a 90-­second clip from the film.

The other 104 minutes will remain unseen and off-limits, like the 38 hours of unused footage which is now held in the Royal Archives at Windsor, unavailable to the eyes of even serious historians and researchers

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