Friday, 1 June 2012, 9:00PM – 10:15PM
“She is effectively the parent, the mother of the nation, so therefore she’s never off-duty.”
As millions of us join together to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee and the momentous achievement of 60 years on the throne, this one-off documentary provides a unique insight into the Queen’s life by those who know and love her best.
Presenter Alan Titchmarsh documents the Queen’s sixty years on the throne and interviews close family and friends including The Duke of York, The Duke of Cambridge, The Princess Royal and Princess Eugenie. He explores the closeness of her relationship with her parents, her coronation at the age of 25 as the mother of a two and four-year-old, and how she has succeeded in juggling the roles of Monarch, mother and devoted grandmother.
Film footage of the Royal family at home is shown for the first time, along with intimate readings taken from personal letters between Princess Elizabeth and her parents, made public for this programme.
Prince Andrew shares memories of his childhood growing up at Buckingham Palace, including cushion fights with his siblings and playing cricket in the corridors to avoid the mile walk to the garden. Asked whether the way he was brought up was down to the Queen or the Duke he says “The answer to that is 50/50. Responsibility, compassion perhaps comes from the Queen. Discipline and the duty comes from him.”
During a tour of Clarence House, Prince William says of the role the Queen has held in his life: “Being a young boy growing up, I’d say probably Queen first and then grandmother. But now it’s definitely grandmother first Queen second.” He later admits to getting just 30 minutes sleep the night before his wedding and recalls how he went to the Queen for advice about his big day.
Private footage shows a young Princess Elizabeth, or Lillibet, filmed by her father, some of which has never been broadcast before. We also hear from childhood friends.
We explore the relationship between the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh that has lasted more than 60 years, the beginnings of which are documented in deeply moving letters kept in the Royal archives at Windsor castle and never filmed before, written from Princess Elizabeth to her mother during her honeymoon.
Asked if he is daunted to follow in the footsteps of the Queen and the Prince of Wales in his future role, Prince William admits, “Incredibly, yeah. They’re quite hard footsteps to fill. There’s not much wiggle room left for me to try and find my own path, but I will do. Everyone’s fascinated by the Queen’s life and how she’s done it. And I would just hope, and I think she would love, is that a bit of what she’s done and a bit of what she’s achieved, and a bit of how she’s conducted herself, we all take away in our own lives and try and do it ourselves.”