ITV’s documentary ‘Our Queen at 90’ gave us an unprecedented glimpse into The Queen’s working life, the opinions of her family – so what did we learn from the showing yesterday evening?
Here is a collection of some of the best moments from the insightful and quite possibly most personal documentary seen on The Queen in years.
Beginning the show showed Her Majesty beginning one of her normal days at work. The camera scans across the room to show family photos, ones not released to the public, including one of The Queen and her granddaughter Zara, at her nuptials in 2011. A duo frame of her mother and father sit on her desk, and we caught sight of Peter Phillips and his wife Autumn atop the roll-top.
We even are allowed to see the beginning of a Wednesday meeting with the Prime Minister, showing the pair discussing the recent terrorist attacks in Paris.
We clearly see how much The Queen is involved with her staff and those she works with – she is seen asking about one gentleman, who recently had some bad luck with the weather at home.
Then Her Majesty is to hand out a Long Service Medal to a man who had served in the Royal Household for 20 years. A brief meeting, the cameras caught up with the recipient after the awarding – at which point, he teared up thinking about meeting her. It really is an honour to meet The Queen, something which even celebrities are no exception to.
David Beckham spoke of Elizabeth II as ‘the number one leader’ and ‘a role model’, while The Duke of Cambridge said: “A lot of people get very excited and sort of nervous around her. And I’ve seen some very comical moments. I’ve seen people literally faint in front of her. It’s quite a startling moment as to what to do when you faint in front of the Queen. There’s a lot of trembling knees and people can’t talk sometimes.
“It’s quite difficult talking to people when they can’t talk. You don’t get very far; I don’t get past the hellos.”
Those close to her contributed, including Margaret Rhodes, The Queen’s cousin. “She was always a slightly serious little girl,” she said, implying she perhaps always knew her destiny, “as opposed to her sister who was a naughty little girl.”
Public figures were also invited to speak, with David Cameron saying: “I think the words duty and service tumble off the lips. She has carried out her duty brilliantly and faultlessly. She is admired the world over.”
The documentary even covered a little of the Royal wardrobe, with Sophie, Countess of Wessex remarking that her sense of style is simple, and she usually dresses in a bright block colour, as people need to see Her Majesty – even if it is just the top of her hat.
“She has a happy colour. I think that’s the word, happy.” Princess Eugenie said on the topic.
Prince Charles applauded his mother, who turns 90 next month, for her steadfast duty. “She put up with all of us and that’s quite an achievement,” he quipped, perhaps a reference to her four children who have had three divorces between them, and a few scandals to boot.
Some of the best and most authentic footage came when The Queen’s passion for horses was discussed. We see Elizabeth talking of a prima donna horse, and of another ‘naughty boy’ in the stables.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall shares Her Majesty’s equine passion, explaining it helps the Monarch to relax after a busy week of work in London. “Who else is riding at 90? That’s what’s so incredible… Who’s got the energy to get on a horse and go riding?”
The Duchess also praised The Queen’s expert knowledge on horses, revealing she asks her for advice regarding her own racing horses, since The Queen is a veteran breeder. “She is the tops,” she said of her mother-in-law. “You couldn’t find a better expert. Horses respond to her, they love her. It’s a two-way relationship.
“She has that wonderful smile that lights up her whole face, and you can see she gets real joy from it.”
But even Her Majesty admitted she was “rather a fairweather rider — I don’t like getting cold and wet!”
One place where The Queen feels most at home is Balmoral. “Balmoral is the most beautiful place on earth,” said Princess Eugenie. “I think granny is most happy there.”
Sophie, Countess of Wessex agreed: “It is a magical place…apart from the midges,” she joked. “It’s a sense of freedom for her, she can relax and settle in and be herself.” It was clear to see that the Countess had a close bond with her mother-in-law; the pair share a love of military history.
One particular thing Royal watchers were amused by, was a particular cushion which read ‘It’s good to be Queen’. No doubt a joke gift from a member of the family, it sums up Her Majesty’s humour. We also see the Sovereign joke
Continuing the discussion of Balmoral, The Duke of York appears to discuss his father’s legendary BBQs. “He’s brilliant at it, absolutely brilliant at it. He can do things on the grill, most chefs would go, ‘what?!’. It’s sheer experience over time,” Prince Andrew said.
Conversation then turned to the role The Duke of Edinburgh played in The Queen’s life, at which point Princess Beatrice got emotional.
“He is the most unique person and I’m very lucky to share quite magical times with granfather,” she said, promising she would not cry.
Sister Eugenie concurred. “Grandpa is incredible, strong and consistent. He’s been there all these years, he’s the rock for all of us.”
While Sophie praised Philip: “He’s a gentleman and a gentle man. He looks out for her, he’s her protector.” Words to make even the most cynical people well up, don’t you think?
High praise came from the first recipient of the Victoria Cross during The Queen’s reign. “I don’t think there’s a medal big enough [for her service] to give to The Queen,” Bill Speakman said.
Prince William, Duke of Cambridge made comments of The Queen’s link to the Armed Forces. “It is about service to others and helping the community, helping in the national interest.”