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New Documentary Promises Rare Insight Into Queen Elizabeth's Life

posted 15 Mar 2013, 14:26 by Mpelembe   [ updated 15 Mar 2013, 14:27 ]

A feature-length documentary, "Our Queen", about Queen Elizabeth II promises to give an insight into the life of the British monarch both as a sovereign as well as a private person.

 LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (OXFORD FILM AND TELEVISION/BBC WORLDWIDE) -  A two-hour documentary promises to give a rare in-depth insight into the working and private life of Britain's Queen Elizabeth II.

Royal author and broadcaster Robert Hardman followed Her Majesty during the course of the Diamond Jubilee Year, with his team joining her at official state visits as well as during her private down time at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. "Our Queen" is a follow-up to Hardman's book of the same name, providing us with a glimpse into the monarch's daily life.

A very private person, Queen Elizabeth II is known to never give interviews. The film however shows the 86-year-old Royal engaging with her family, staff and politicians, showing what happens behind-the-scenes when cameras are usually not present.

The film was co-produced and directed by filmmaker Michael Waldman. During the course of filming Waldman said he felt a real sense of history happening in front of his camera lense. Describing his experience with the Queen, he said:

"This is the material for future descriptions of how in some ways the country works. She is an extraordinary figure. She's been on the throne for sixty more and plus years now. And in a strange way, obviously she does not constitutionally have great power but she has a hugely central important role and to see that the way it actually works, the day to day interaction between the Prime Minister and her, her staff, other people she meets, president here, king there, it was all happening in front of our camera. It was incredibly exciting."

Aside from official engagements "Our Queen" also shows how the British Monarch is conducting an audience with the British Prime Minister David Cameron, offering a glimpse into how the British monarchy is run.

"So I was expecting for the Prime Minister audience that we'll be there for a few minutes before we're chucked out and they just talk banalities but in fact, one the body language was fascinating to see how they react to each another and in the environment of her private apartment, but also the Prime Minister suddenly talked about the Euro and the Queen engaged and suddenly you saw the head of state and the head of government talking about an important aspect and the Queen came up with 'Yes the King did call me, he's very worried', so -- I realized it was the ex-King Constatine of Greece who called her that evening to talk about the Euro, so she has her own informants," he said.

Filming also took place at Balmoral Castle, the Queen's country retreat inScotland, where Waldman described the Monarch at her most relaxed, even when she was still on duty.

"Well Buckingham Palace is quite formal, it is her London home. But the audience with the Prime Minister, it is in a relatively formal private room. At Balmoral it is a private sitting room with the normal clutter of a woman at her private home. And I'd say even the Corgis are more relaxed at Balmoral. It's definitely a different feel so when she received the Prime Minister there she was in tartan skirt and a pink cardigan and much more relaxed than in the Buckingham Palace environment," Waldman said.

The team's time inside the Queen's chambers at Balmoral offered all sorts of opportunities, also offering examples on Her Majesty's sense of humour.

"So we went into this sitting room, this private sitting room in Balmoral", Waldman recalls. "There're family photographs, there's one on the mantle piece which is of King George VI but the inscription is 'Papa, 1948', so you look around and there were some stuffed toys, there were some papers being sorted and this wonderful cushion which I spotted which simply says 'It's good to be Queen'" he said.

Featuring interviews with members of the Royal Family, Prime Ministers as well as some of Her Majesty's staff "Our Queen" is on ITV1 on Sunday, March 17, at 8PM BST.