The eight biggest bombshells in the new royal documentary series


  • 1. Harry’s death in war deemed ‘acceptable’ by late Queen.
  • 2. Camilla secretly met the Archbishop of Canterbury at a flat in Peckham
  • 3. Prince Andrew’s overconfidence led to Newsnight interview
  • 4. Princess Anne’s blunt response to her kidnapper
  • 5. Michael Fagan: ‘Someone should have stopped me from breaking into the Palace’
  • 6. Prince Andrew insisted on taking his own ironing board
  • 7. Queen’s sherry o’clock
  • 8. Princess Margaret ‘longed for love’
  • A new ITVX documentary is jam-packed with new hair-raising claims and insights into how the Royal Family has operated for the past few decades.

    It includes how Prince Harry’s life was seen as dispensable, whereas his older brother Prince William, as the future heir, was to be more heavily protected.

    The new series called The Real Crown: Inside the House of Windsor airs later this month and is also brimming with hilarious anecdotes and titbits about members of the Firm.

    Executive producer David Gover, of 72 films, described ITV’s new series as “a definitive and landmark series of the Royal Family that tells a familiar story in an unfamiliar way”.

    He said: “A significant key to its distinctiveness is its range of contributors, the eye-witnesses to history. It’s the story of the Royal Family from the people who were there.”

    Here takes a look at the bombshells revealed in the documentary:

    1. Harry’s death in war deemed ‘acceptable’ by late Queen.

    The late Queen Elizabeth II permitted Prince Harry to go to war – and not his older brother Prince William – because his death on the battlefield was “acceptable”.

    But William, as the future heir to the throne, was not permitted to head to the frontline when the Afghanistan war broke out in 2001 because the risk was seen as “too great”.

    The decision is discussed at a meeting between the late Queen and General Sir Mike Jackson, former head of the British Army, which is disclosed in the documentary.

    Sir Mike said: “She was very clear. She said, ‘My grandsons have taken my shilling, therefore they must do their duty.’ And that was that. But it was decided that William as heir to the heir, the risk is too great. But for his younger brother, the risk was acceptable.”

    This position was reiterated by Mark Cann, director of the British Forces Foundation, who said William was “very keen to go” but he was stopped from going to war due to his position as future King.

    2. Camilla secretly met the Archbishop of Canterbury at a flat in Peckham

    Camilla met the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, at his son’s flat in Peckham, London, to get to know her and discuss the possibility of her marrying Charles, who was then the Prince of Wales.

    Dr Carey, who was the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1991 to 2002, suggested the location to avoid attracting media attention and ensure the meeting was kept secret.

    He recalled: “She walked through the front door and we had coffee together… we had an animated conversation and we talked about her relationship with Charles, going way back to when they were teenagers.

    “And after that I decided there was no way I could treat her as anything other than a really nice human being who is deeply in love with Charles.”

    The Christian leader later gave his blessing for the pair to marry, despite his earlier comments that their union would cause a crisis for the church.

    3. Prince Andrew’s overconfidence led to Newsnight interview

    The Duke of York’s infamous sitdown interview on BBC Newsnight, where he defended his friendship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, was due to his overconfidence, an insider claimed.

    Tory peer Lord Patten discussed the royal’s decision to give the interview, which sparked a huge public backlash and led to the Queen stripping him of his military honours, royal patronages and use of his HRH title, in the documentary.

    He said: “He thought he was capable of getting away with some answer which inevitably turns around and hits him over the head. It says he’s not plugged into the same reality as the rest of us.”

    4. Princess Anne’s blunt response to her kidnapper

    The failed attempt to kidnap Princess Anne in 1974 is detailed within the series, with her former bodyguard Jim Beaton detailing the terrifying ordeal.

    The Queen’s daughter, then aged 23, was travelling back to Buckingham Palace after attending a charity event with her then-husband Captain Mark Phillips. A car overtook them and forced the vehicle to stop by blocking their route. Its driver, Ian Ball, then exited the car holding two handguns and descended on the royal limousine.

    The assailant shot Anne’s bodyguard in the shoulder and then tried to get her out of the car.

    Staying calm, the royal famously replied: “Not bloody likely”. The situation was then brought under control as a passing boxer, Ronnie Russel, punched Ball in the head.

    Afterward, police found a £2million ransom note addressed to the Queen, two pairs of handcuffs and valium tranquilisers.

    5. Michael Fagan: ‘Someone should have stopped me from breaking into the Palace’

    One of the more comical parts of the series is the interview with Michael Fagan, the man who broke into Buckingham Palace undetected on two separate occasions in 1982.

    The documentary sees the intruder retrace his steps and retell how he managed to pull off one of the most notorious break ins in British history.

    He jokingly remarks that “there are cameras up there now” – at the point he scaled the 20-ft brick wall to enter the inside of the Palace gates.

    After entering the building, Mr Fagan says how he attempted to wipe his dirty hands on one of the curtains inside, but “they started to crumble” so he quickly stopped.

    He jokes that he reenacted the scene from the fairytale The Three Bears when he reached the throne room, trying out each of the historic chairs.

    Explaining why he broke into the Palace, he said: “I went to talk to Liz. I just wanted to talk to the Queen.”

    He added that “someone should have stopped me” from breaking in.

    6. Prince Andrew insisted on taking his own ironing board

    Prince Andrew had a long list of demands when travelling abroad, which included only drinking lukewarm water and insisting on his valet bringing along his own ironing board.

    Former diplomat Simon Wilson detailed this in the documentary, when he recalled the bizarre details on a trip to Bahrain.

    He said: ‘“Prince Andrew always brought a large entourage with him. A private secretary, an equerry, a valet, a lady clerk and a business adviser.

    “We were shocked when a 6ft ironing board was trying to be negotiated into one of the embassy cars.

    “I asked the valet and said, ‘this is insane’. And the valet’s reply was, “no one knows how to iron his Royal Highness” trousers like me’.

    Mr Wilson also revealed that Andrew had insisted on only drinking water at room temperature.

    7. Queen’s sherry o’clock

    Sir Mike recalled how a predecessor advised him on the best time to meet the Queen to avoid interfering with her “sherry” time.

    He said that he was advised to “try to secure the midday slot because after 40 minutes the Queen would ring a small bell and say, ‘Time for a sherry I think’.”

    8. Princess Margaret ‘longed for love’

    The Archbishop of Canterbury was one of the last people to see Princess Margaret before she died and he speaks about the encounter in the documentary.

    In one of the more moving scenes of the series, Lord Carey recalls the moment he gave the royal the last rites.

    He said it was clear that “she was sad, she longed for love” and added that the Queen’s sister was full of “deep human sadness”.

    All episodes of The Real Crown: Inside the House of Windsor can be streamed on ITVX from April 20.

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