A royal documentary that’s fit for the Queen – at last

There is a well-worn template for royal documentaries: half a dozen historians and royal biographers give the inside track on a family they know only from public pronouncements, second-hand accounts and fleeting contact. If the Queen ever stumbles across them, she must marvel at these people discussing her life as if they are personal friends.

My Years with the Queen (ITV) was delightfully different: an insider account from someone who really was by the monarch’s side through the events of her life, as lady-in-waiting. Lady Pamela Hicks, daughter of Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and first cousin of the Duke of Edinburgh, shared her memories of “Lillibet” with her daughter, India.

At 91, Lady Pamela is an aristocrat  of the old school. Designer India is media-savvy and persuaded her mother to discuss her life on a podcast. Now they have transferred it to television, broadcasting from Lady Pamela’s beautiful Oxfordshire home.

This spilling of the royal beans was scandal-free but entertaining. There was the time that the monarch, during the 1954 tour of Australia, encountered a load of day-trippers who were looking for the Queen. A dressed-down Lillibet pointed and yelled, “She went that-a-way!” We also learned that the Queen takes two boxes of chocolates with her when she visits friends – one for the hostess and one for herself.

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