Smithsonian Channel is celebrating Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday with a two-hour landmark program. For the last year Smithsonian Channel was granted unprecedented access to Her Majesty and the Royal Family’s lives at Buckingham Palace and across the United Kingdom and overseas. THE QUEEN AT 90, premiering Sunday, May 15 at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Smithsonian Channel, includes individual contributions from many key figures in her life, including Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and 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.
THE QUEEN AT 90 includes interviews with leading international figures including President Barack Obama, who provides the introduction to the special, Prime Minister David Cameron, and soccer legend David Beckham. Using unique home movies from the Royal Family and tapping film archives from around the globe, THE QUEEN AT 90 portrays the United Kingdom’s monarch as never seen before.
The film features the first solo interview with Kate, The Duchess of Cambridge, who says that Queen Elizabeth was thrilled that her fifth great-grandchild was a girl and also reveals that Prince George’s nickname for his great grandmother is “Gan-Gan.”
Talking about The Queen passing on her experiences to her, the Duchess of Cambridge said: “She’s been very generous in not being forceful at all and in any of her views, but I feel she’s been there, a gentle guidance really for me. What’s really struck me is her love for the simple things in life. You would expect a lot of grandeur and a lot of fuss. Actually what really resonates with me is her love for simple things, the lack of fuss – and it’s a special quality to have.”
Since birth Queen Elizabeth has lived in the public eye, with cameras recording her image but kept at a distance. This is an intimate portrait of the Queen as a wife, mother, grandmother and Head of State. Viewers will see Her Majesty attending and hosting various events, including a reception for the Rugby World Cup and the Chinese State Visit, as well as seeing Her Majesty working and relaxing at home.
As the Queen prepares in a Buckingham Palace anteroom to make her entrance into a reception for 600 diplomats waiting to meet her, she says: “Is that the right time?” [looking at her watch] “Do you think, if we open the door, is there anyone here?”
Speaking about Her Majesty, HRH The Prince of Wales said: “When you think that all these years the Queen has been on throne, that in itself is a huge achievement, coping with so many different challenges and complications and always being there really in that remarkable way – steadfast.”
On how members of the public react to meeting Her Majesty, the Duke of Cambridge said: “A lot of people get very excited and sort of nervous around her. And I’ve seen some very comical moments. I’ve seen people literally faint in front of her. It’s quite a startling moment as to what to do when you faint in front of the Queen. There’s a lot of trembling knees and people can’t talk sometimes. It’s quite difficult talking to people when they can’t talk. You don’t get very far; I don’t get past the hellos.”
Prince Harry adds: “I look at the Commonwealth and think, ’Look how much it’s achieved.’ But what’s really encouraging is how much more it can achieve. It’s a force for good across the whole world, and I think going forward she should be incredibly proud of what she’s led and what she’s achieved and what she’s created amongst a huge amount of people from different ethnic backgrounds, different skin colors, different experiences, different islands – whatever it be. Hats off to her, it’s incredible.”
Princess Eugenie offers an intimate glimpse of the Queen’s life at Balmoral, her country estate in the Scottish Highlands: “It’s the most beautiful place on earth. I think Granny is the most happy there, I think she really, really loves the Highlands…walks, picnics, dogs, a lot of dogs, there’s always dogs, and people coming in and out all the time. Family-wise we’re all there, so it’s a lovely base for Granny and Grandpa to be – for us to come and see them up there where you just have room to breathe and run.”