In the BBC documentary ‘Elizabeth R: A Year in the Life of the Queen’, Her Majesty reflected on her role as monarch. She described her position as a “job for life”. The broadcast was the first officially approved documentary about the British monarchy since the 1969 ‘Royal Family’ film.
Elizabeth R was made to mark Her Majesty’s Ruby Jubilee of 40 years on the throne.
It attracted the largest audience for a documentary in the history of British television.
In the film, the Queen spoke about her accession to the throne.
She said: “In a way, I didn’t have an apprenticeship.
“My father died much too young and so it was all a very sudden kind of taking on and making the best job you can.
“It’s a question of maturing into something that one’s got used to doing, and accepting the fact that it’s your fate, because I think continuity is very important.
“It is a job for life.”
The then-Princess Elizabeth became Queen following the death of her father, King George VI, in February 1952.
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She said: “Most people have a job and then they go home.
“And this existence, the job and the life go on together because you can’t really divide it up.”
Royal author, Clive Irving, explained how the Queen lacked “confidence” at the start of her reign.
Speaking to Vanity Fair, the royal expert was asked whether he would have anticipated her successful reign at her coronation.
Mr Irving responded: “I think very few people would have, and she was very peculiarly lacking in that confidence herself.
“The first 10 years of her reign she had to endure enormous stress, not only learning how to be the Queen, but also enduring a campaign that [Prince] Philip and Dickie Mountbatten waged to get the family name changed.”
But the royal author praised Her Majesty for keeping the monarchy alive.
He said: “What she had to do was to maintain this strange thing that you have to maintain to keep the monarchy alive, and that’s the mystique of the monarch herself, a kind of unknowability.
“Here you have this paradox: One of the most famous people in the world, yet you still know so little about her, and that’s deliberate.”