Airdate: Being the Queen

On Sunday National Geographic will screen the documentary Being the Queen, this is produced by Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Tom Jennings.

It also features never-before-heard interviews.

“I have gained exclusive access to untapped archives while piecing together the complete story of Queen Elizabeth II, which is most often underscored by love and marriage — from abdication, Princess Margaret, the late Diana, Princess of Wales, and Prince William and Harry,” says executive producer and director Jennings. “It is my hope that when viewers witness the personal moments as The Queen leads her people through pivotal, historic occasions, they have a clear picture of the Monarch’s many fortunes and the struggles that shook her dynasty.”

Elizabeth Alexandra Mary was raised in luxurious obscurity as a member of the royal family, but after her uncle, King Edward VIII, abdicated the throne in 1936, her life was forever changed when her father, King George VI took the throne.

Following his shocking, sudden death, Elizabeth immediately assumed monarchy responsibilities and formally began her reign as Queen Elizabeth II, in June 1953, at the young age of 27.

Having pledged her service to the Commonwealth and devoted her life to the Crown, now, nearly 70 years later, Her Majesty The Queen is Britain’s longest-reigning monarch and the longest-reigning queen in world history.

She has been in the public eye for decades, but there are still stories of Queen Elizabeth II’s life that have remained sealed behind Buckingham Palace doors … until now.

On Sunday November 22 at 7.30pm AEDT, more than 25,000 days into her epic reign, National Geographic premieres the sweeping documentary, Being the Queen. Providing a captivating window into the extremely private life of Queen Elizabeth II, the film focuses on important moments when the hidden side of the House of Windsor collides with the public life of the monarchy. Told through an incredible array of archival material, viewers will be immersed in Her Majesty’s life and feel as though they, too, are members of her inner circle with unique access into her life.

Airing globally in 172 countries and 43 languages, the film is executive produced and directed by acclaimed Emmy and Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Tom Jennings (“Apollo: Missions to the Moon,” “Diana: In Her Own Words”), who delivers his signature style of first-person storytelling to create a gripping account of the Queen’s personal life.

Being the Queen sifts through thousands of rare photographs and hundreds of hours of footage to showcase a treasure trove of intimate, rare and never-before-seen or heard accounts of Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne and puts viewers in the room during some of the most important and trying events of British monarchy history. The film utilises archival sources from around the world, such as British Movietone, Reuters, the BBC, ITN and ITV, and includes the following:

Never-before-heard Interviews — Located deep in the US Library of Congress, newly digitized unused interviews from Deborah Hart Strober and Gerald S. Strober’s 2002 biography, The Monarchy, are for the first time broadcast in Being the Queen. Interviews are with friends, confidantes, private secretaries and politicians who witnessed the Queen’s historic reign from the inside.

Unheard Audio — In never-before-heard audio recordings from biographer Anne de Courcy’s files, viewers can hear Princess Margaret’s husband, Lord Snowden (Antony Charles Robert Armstrong-Jones), describe his visit to the Welsh mining town of Aberfan following the 1966 disaster that killed 116 children and 28 adults.

Never-before-seen Home Movies — For the first time, viewers witness the Queen’s visit to Aberfan after the horrific disaster, which was filmed by local resident Harry Breeze.

Rare Radio Broadcasts — From the archives of the BBC, extremely rare broadcasts include the announcement of King George VI’s death and live broadcasts from the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953.

Rare Photographs — From the archives of the Evening Standard, with original grease pencil markings, before they had been cropped for printing, this collection of photographs includes a rare candid photo of Princess Margaret riding horses with fiancé Peter Townsend. The twosome was rarely photographed together in any intimate or informal setting.

Composed by Adam Lukas for Bleeding Fingers Music and produced by Academy Award, Golden Globe, Tony Award and Grammy Award winner Hans Zimmer and Emmy-nominated Russell Emanuel, the film’s orchestral score was recorded remotely by a socially distant 44- piece orchestra in May 2020. Each musician self-recorded from home with every instrument before being flawlessly woven together to create a breathtaking score that captures the grandeur of royal life and makes viewers feel as if they are walking the halls of Buckingham Palace and holidaying with Her Royal Highness at Balmoral Castle.

Being the Queen is produced by 1895 Films for National Geographic. For 1895 Films, Jennings is executive producer and director. The film is written and produced by Tobiah Black and Laura Verklan, edited by Rich Hyatt and produced by Robert Kirk. For National Geographic, Simon Raikes is executive producer.

Following Being the Queen at 8.30pm AEDT is Diana: In Her Own Words: A Lasting Legacy.

Diana: In her Own Words: A Lasting Legacy is Princess Diana’s personal account of her doomed marriage, which is enhanced with a look into the lasting legacy she left her sons.

The documentary is produced by Being The Queen EP Tom Jennings.

Sunday November 22 at 7.30pm on National Geographic.

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