If you're a longtime royal watcher (or you've just been avidly watching The Crown) you'll know about that documentary. In 1969, the Queen and members of the British Royal family opened the doors of Buckingham Palace to Richard Cawston and a team from the BBC for eighteen months. The idea was to offer a more accessible look at the monarchy. It was the brainchild of palace press secretary William Heseltine and television producer John Brabourne (son-in-law of Lord Mountbatten) who believed it would make the family more relevant to the British public. Cawston later said, "I never asked for things which I thought would be in bad taste; therefore, there was never any question of asking for something that would have to be turned down." It attracted over 30 million viewers.
43 hours of footage were meticulously edited down to include the family eating breakfast, watching television, having lunch with President Richard Nixon, Prince Charles playing cello and Princess Anne visiting a gas rig in the North Sea. The final result and reaction was less positive than hoped. Journalist Peregrine Worsthorne summed up the mood by writing, "Initially the public will love seeing the Royal family as not essentially different from anyone else … but in the not-so-long run, familiarity will breed, if not contempt, familiarity." Though initially filmmakers felt the Queen found the final results satisfactory (she expressed she felt it was too long) the monarch reportedly requested it be put away, never to be aired again. Historical consultant Robert Lacey later said, "They realized that if they did something like that too often, they would cheapen themselves, letting the magic seep out." Little snippets have appeared over the years, but is a rarity indeed to see the full film on YouTube. If interested in viewing, I recommend doing so quickly, as it may be removed.