Queen felt 'tensions' between public and family life, documentary to claim

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The tensions the Queen felt in balancing her public role and her family life will be exposed in a set of documentaries on Channel 4.

Three programmes will air looking at the Queen’s relationship with her husband, Prince Philip, and the rest of her family, as well as some key moments during her six decades on the throne.

The shows, which claim to show “the secrets behind” the Queen’s reign will be based on declassified documents, including letters, diaries, eye-witness testimony and audio recordings.

Channel 4 said the working title is Royals Declassified, and will also include interviews with royal insiders, politicians and experts.

The first show will cover the Queen’s relationship with her prime ministers, “including mounting tensions with Margaret Thatcher that threatened a constitutional crisis”.

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LUSAKA, ZAMBIA - AUGUST 01:  Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher attend a ball to celebrate the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting hosted by President Kenneth Kaunda on August 01, 1979 in Lusaka, Zambia. (Photo by Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
The documentary will look at the tensions between the Queen and former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. (Anwar Hussein/Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (R) view a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation with explosives detection dog named 'Max' at the Energetics Analysis Centre as they visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park near Salisbury, southern England, on October 15, 2020. - The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II (C) and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (R) view a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation with explosives detection dog named 'Max' at the Energetics Analysis Centre as they visit the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down science park near Salisbury, southern England, on October 15, 2020. - The Queen and the Duke of Cambridge visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) where they were to view displays of weaponry and tactics used in counter intelligence, a demonstration of a Forensic Explosives Investigation and meet staff who were involved in the Salisbury Novichok incident. Her Majesty and His Royal Highness also formally opened the new Energetics Analysis Centre. (Photo by Ben STANSALL / POOL / AFP) (Photo by BEN STANSALL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The second will cast “fresh light on the tensions she’s experienced between the demands of her family and her role as monarch”.

The last in the series will cover the exposure of the Queen’s art advisor as a spy, asking “how a spy passing information to the Soviets was able to work for so many years in Buckingham Palace”.

Anthony Blunt was exposed as a Russian spy in 1979, but had privately confessed to the Soviet connection in 1964 when he was confronted by British authorities.

The Queen stripped him of the knighthood he had been awarded early in her reign after he was exposed.

Blunt’s story was also covered in season three of Netflix’s The Crown.

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Shaminder Nahal, Channel 4 commissioning editor, specialist factual, said: “From the Queen’s relationships with her prime ministers, to the extraordinary story of the spy in the palace and some of the Queen’s family secrets – this series brings many intriguing aspects of the history of the Crown to life in primary colour – with wit, verve and fascinating detail.”

Dan Chambers, creative director of producers Blink Films, said: “What makes these films so compelling is the new evidence we’ve uncovered both from declassified documents and from contributors.”

No release date for the documentaries has yet been given.

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