Queen Elizabeth Apparently Regrets Participating in the ‘Royal Family’ Documentary About Her Real Life

The newest season of The Crown is really starting to highlight why the royal family acts the way they do. And it’s revealing why Queen Elizabeth supposedly hates the whole series so much.

Season 3 brought us a few new revelations about the royal family and though it’s technically a fictional show, so much of it is rooted in fact. For example, the documentary about the royal family that’s described in the third season is a real thing that exists. Just don’t expect to ever see reruns of it on BBC.

Even though Queen Elizabeth agreed to participate in the very intimate documentary in the 1960s, the whole thing was uncomfortable and now Her Majesty refuses to let the special air in its entirety. Her reaction clarifies why so many royal family members are horrified by Meghan Markle being so open about her struggles — and why up until now, royals kept so many things private.

The royal family
The royal family | Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

The BBC documentary ‘Royal Family’ revealed so much about them

It’s not like Royal Family, which aired on June 21, 1969, was quickly thrown together. Richard Cawston’s documentary team followed Queen Elizabeth and her family around for a solid 18 months, documenting how they spent their time both at work and at play.

The documentary included never-before-seen moments such as Prince Philip manning the grill while at Balmoral and Queen Elizabeth having conversations with former president Richard Nixon. The public had never seen the queen and her family like this before.

Queen Elizabeth and the royal family
Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family | Hulton Archive/Getty Images

People started scrutinizing the royals more than ever

Royal fans have always been curious about the royal family. The documentary was done in part to improve their reputation, making them seem more friendly and likable. But at the same time, they didn’t want people to think they were exactly like commoners.

“I think the monarchy, in a very interesting way in the 1960s, tried to get out ahead of this notion they were out of tough or they were unapproachable,” Laura Mayhall said in the ABC special The Story of the Royals.

“It’s really a vehicle for us to see a little bit behind the scenes, so we can understand the monarchy as people like us.”  

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip
Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip | Fox Photos/Getty Images

‘Royal Family’ got great reviews before disappearing forever

Apparently, Queen Elizabeth was mostly pleased with the finished product after more than a year of captured footage. But she was still hesitant to let the documentary air because Her Majesty wasn’t used to sharing so much of her personal life. Even though three-quarters of the British public watched the special in 1969, it immediately went away shortly after airing, never to be seen again.

And they’ve never done anything quite like it since. With the exception of Meghan Markle speaking about her true feelings during that ITV documentary, no one is quite sure about the private lives of British royals.

“They realized that if they did something like that too often, they would cheapen themselves, letting the magic seep out,” historical expert Robert said in the ABC special.

The royal family
The royal family | Fox Photos/Getty Images

Only 90 seconds of the documentary appeared again

The royal family documentary remains a big mystery for anyone who wasn’t lucky enough to see it on that day in 1969. Though the queen did approve a 90-second clip being released in 2011 as part of an exhibit for the National Portrait Gallery, overall she hasn’t wanted to air the expose ever again.

Will we ever get to see Royal Family again? Probably not as long as Queen Elizabeth has any say in it. It’s enough to make you wonder why she agreed to participate in the first place.