Life story

The Invisible Queen to tell the story of the Queen’s life

Every day, millions of people around the world take precious images of their loved ones. Unless you’re an exceptionally organized person, however, the photos, videos and recordings that tell the stories of our lives very often get lost in the ether – for as you know if you’ve ever tried to compile a digital archive , pressing “capture” on our smartphone is much easier than browsing through thousands of files.

The Queen is no exception to this problem, and after eight colorful decades in the spotlight, you can reasonably assume that some of her images might be lost in the mists of time. Recently, however, the BBC made the remarkable discovery of some 400 lost film and newsreel reels in the Queen’s personal film collection – and now we’re about to see them.

Ahead of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations in June, upcoming BBC documentary Elizabeth: The Invisible Queen will give viewers a rare glimpse into the personal life of the long-reigning monarch.

Unlike regular documentaries featuring interviews and narration, this special 75-minute program has the Royal Seal of Approval from Her Majesty herself. This is because the Queen has granted the BBC unprecedented access to reels of home recordings which have until now been held privately by the Royal Collection in the vaults of the British Film Institute.

As you might have guessed from the title of the documentary, these never-before-seen home movies will see the Queen take center stage. Even though the monarch has had every moment of her public life closely documented since childhood, the new documentary will seek to tell “the real story” of the Queen’s life like we’ve never seen it before.

Described as a “visually rich and immersive film of an unprecedented historical record”, the documentary will also not be told from an outsider’s perspective. Alongside the BBC’s free access to personal footage, the film will also be told through the Queen’s own eyes and in her own voice and words, so you can be sure we’re getting the real version of the events directly from the source itself.

The Invisible Queen
Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen: A 20-year-old Princess Elizabeth enjoying a visit to South Africa in 1947 from the forthcoming BBC documentary

If you’ve been following the news lately, you may also have seen that Queen Elizabeth II just became the third longest reigning monarch in world history at the age of 96. In the new documentary, however, we’ll turn back the clock to see the monarch’s journey from her earliest childhood, from being pushed in a pram by her mother as a baby to her coronation. at the age of 27 in 1953, after the death of his father George VI in 1952.

In footage shot by the Queen, her parents, Prince Philip and others, the documentary will take viewers “behind the scenes of the Queen’s upbringing and reveals the warmth of her relationship with her parents”, according to a statement. from the BBC.

“It captures Prince Philip’s first extended visit to Balmoral in 1946 when the couple’s engagement was still not public – a beaming Princess Elizabeth showing the camera her engagement ring.

“It shows Princess Elizabeth as a young mother, with the King and Queen as loving grandparents to Prince Charles and Princess Anne.

“Other rare moments include his grandfather George V (known to the Queen as ‘Grandfather of England’) sailing with the Queen Mother off the Isle of Wight in 1931, footage from Princess Elizabeth with her uncle Prince George, the Duke of Kent, who tragically died in a plane crash in 1942 while on active duty – and a poignant glimpse of the Royal Family at Balmoral in 1951, the last King’s visit there.

The Invisible Queen
Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen: A Princess Elizabeth shows off her new engagement ring shortly after Prince Philip’s proposal to Balmoral in 1946 from upcoming BBC documentary

“We are honored that the Queen has given the BBC unprecedented access to her personal collection of films,” said BBC story editor Simon Young. “This documentary is an extraordinary insight into a deeply personal side of the royal family that is rarely seen, and it’s wonderful to be able to share it with the nation as we celebrate its platinum jubilee.”

“As program creators who have previously worked closely with the Royal Household on ceremonial and celebratory events and programs, the production team had no illusions about how access to this very personal was special,” added the creative director of BBC Studios Events. Productions, Claire Popplewell. “Being able to draw on the self-recorded story of a young Princess Elizabeth and her extended family – and allowing the Queen to tell us her own story – is the very heart of this film.”

Elizabeth: The Invisible Queen will debut on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 29 May 2022.


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