28 March 2016

On "Our Queen at 90"

ITV aired the highly anticipated Our Queen at 90 on Sunday. The documentary was a mix of interviews, glimpses of The Queen at work and at play, and the usual biographical details that are included in every such production.

Several members of the Royal Family were interviewed, including The Prince of Wales, The Duchess of Cornwall, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Harry, The Duke of York, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, The Countess of Wessex, and Peter Phillips. While some have noted the relatively light presence of Charles and the absence of Edward and Anne as conspicuous omissions, I personally appreciated the emphasis on those that haven't given as many interviews in the past (Kate and the York sisters; I longed for more Camilla and more Sophie).

Still, I must confess that some of the interviews did leave the impression that we've run out of ways to say that The Queen is special/extraordinary/etc. I cling to the personal anecdotes in these documentaries anyway; I loved The Duchess of Cambridge's relatable anxiety over what to get The Queen for her first Sandringham Christmas, and her relief at seeing the gift of homemade chutney placed on the table the next day. A small gesture from The Queen, but a sweet one.

With all documentaries on the Royal Family - this one included - my real reason for watching is the chance to see behind the scenes. Our Queen at 90 delivered with some fun footage of The Queen at home with her horses and small peeks inside her office (those of you that love identifying the photographs we see in her audiences should be in seventh heaven).

The behind the scenes look at the Diplomatic Reception was the highlight of the documentary from a jewel standpoint. (The clip we dissected earlier this month pretty much covered it.) October's Chinese state banquet made a brief appearance, and her use of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards Badge on a day when she received members of the regiment was a small reminder of the thought put into every detail.

My surprise pick for MVP jewel of the documentary, though? The Sapphire Chrysanthemum Brooch, believe it or not. As an early addition to her brooch collection, it is one of the jewels she has been pictured wearing throughout the decades. Rare footage of Princess Elizabeth wearing the brooch during her time living in Malta was nicely (and perhaps unintentionally) bookended by footage of The Queen wearing the brooch at work today (seen in the clip above). It's a subtle reminder that part of what makes The Queen so intriguing are the things that do not change.

What did you think of the documentary? 
If you haven't seen it, it is available for a limited time on ITV's player (if you have access).

Photos: ITV screencaps