The Diamond Queen (2012) s01e02 Episode Script

Episode 2

1 For the first time in modern history, a queen has reached her 60th year on the throne.
A sea of faces, a forest of hands, 60 years on duty, 60 years of being the uncomplaining servant of her subjects.
What's familiar is the protective blanket of reassurance the reign of Queen Elizabeth II has spread in a world which has changed at bewildering speed.
Continuity.
But it hasn't always been easy and you can't get continuity by standing still.
The monarchy always seems the same but its inside story is rather different.
She's managed to modernise and evolve the monarchy like no other.
Ooh, these are rather fun, aren't they? The roses.
She's seen 12 prime ministers and she's still going she's still going strong.
In the second of this three-part series filmed over a year and a half, we explore how the Queen has kept some grand traditions, while others couldn't survive.
How she's tweaked, listened and changed, opening up palaces and supporting a more relaxed royal wedding.
I rang my grandmother up for some clarification on the issue and duly got told that it was ridiculous.
She was right, as she always is.
This is the tale of the Queen as quiet reformer, taxpayer and anxious social observer.
We can never forget those who have died or been injured and their families.
She did close a circle of history.
June 2011, and let's start at the more eccentric end of the scale, the Garter Knights of the realm troop down the hill at Windsor Castle.
The Queen has modernised a lot but it's worth remembering what she hasn't, not that even this is quite what it appears.
Gold and glitter and pageantry doesn't get much better than this.
This is Garter Day, one of the most important emblematic moments in the Queen's year and the images go all around the world.
And yet, this is a characteristic example of the Windsor dynasty's great trick of reinventing tradition.
Because although Garter Day does go back to the English medieval monarchy, in its modern form, it was invented by the Queen's father in 1948.
So not that long ago.
Her Majesty and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh were resplendent in rich medieval robes.
It's a kind of club for the top ranks of society, former ministers, members of the Royal Family, the establishment.
It's not the easiest part of the monarchy, this, a reminder, perhaps, that for a thousand years monarchs stood on top of a pyramid of aristocrats, landowners and nobles whose power has vanished.
The monarchy, though, is a defiant survivor and orders of chivalry are still taken very seriously.
Well, the Garter is the highest order of chivalry in Britain and the oldest one, as well.
It's in the Sovereign's personal gift, it's an enormous honour for anybody.
What the public doesn't see is what happens inside the Garter Throne Room, the dressing and the decorating of the new knight, including an actual garter.
In this case, it's a judge, Lord Phillips, President of the Supreme Court, and for the Queen, this is hands-on.
Receive this robe of heavenly colour, the livery of this most excellent order.
Monarchy comes barnacled with stately traditions, titles, grandness.
But if this was all, if this was the only image of the British monarchy, it surely wouldn't be half as popular as it actually is.
In fact, the Windsors have always been acutely aware of public opinion and changing attitudes, and ready to ditch what needs to go.
They're on their way to Buckingham Palace to attend one of the three last presentation parties that Her Majesty will hold.
Terribly thrilling, but we mustn't show how nervous we feel.
Presentation of aristocratic young women, debutantes, at a ball which used to mark the start of the annual London season, a kind of very grand marriage market, was abandoned in 1958, really out of embarrassment.
In the tart words of the Queen's late sister Princess Margaret, "Every tart in London was getting in.
" But as the debs were gently shown one door, other doors were opened.
The Queen extended the once traditional and exclusive summer garden parties and opened them up to people from all walks of life, from nurses, builders and bombardiers to care workers and captains.
Eight thousand at a time, at one of the most open and relatively informal of Royal events.
It's nice just to be able to relax and just stroll around in the grounds.
It's a beautiful garden down by the lake, and see just how really, the great and the good of Britain, you know, get invited here and it's a lovely day for them.
And I think it's great the Queen does it, you know, it's, uh, it's just a fantastic thing to do.
Your plates, can you man your plates? Have a plate in your hand ready to offer, okay? Modern world, modern monarchy, which means that the statistics of even garden parties are squinted over and published.
So we know each one involves 27,000 cups of tea, 20,000 cakes and sandwiches and the cost is rising, from £700,000 to £800,000 a year, which could be something to do with the fact that every guest on average consumes 14 items each.
Very calming, a cake or two.
- Really stunning surroundings.
- And the food's lovely.
- Yeah, we like the food.
- We like the cake.
The other essential ingredient for a British garden party is, of course, dodgy weather.
It would be less interesting if it was always sunny.
Less to talk about.
Shelter at once became the most important thing and every vantage point was soon occupied.
It fairly poured down and at least one guest was trapped.
And this is, of course, the Queen's rain.
Away from the formal diary and the spotlights, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh have spent a lot of time reaching out to key figures in a changing country.
When they were younger, they began inviting actors, writers, scientists and others for regular lunches.
Now they welcome a wide range of people for themed evenings at Buckingham Palace.
It might be Australians in Britain, members of the emergency services, explorers.
Tonight, it's young performers and some of their mentors.
I've never met the Queen.
Met Prince Charles.
- Right.
- The Welsh connection, you know.
And so I'm really honoured to be here.
It is actually like being in the movies.
It is an honour to be invited to the wedding.
I thought there'd be more people camped outside.
Have I missed it? I think you may have missed it.
- Is this not - This is not the wedding, no.
I thought it was just me, Duffy and Ellie Goulding.
I mean, I think it's incredibly important for the young performers of all the different in all the different arts to be recognised at an early age.
Because I think it's so It is so incredibly encouraging to feel that you're accepted by your culture, by your society, by your Royal Family.
- By the status quo.
- Yes.
Because so often I think performers, especially young performers, feel they are on the outside of society.
And in many ways they are and so they should be because they have to challenge the status quo.
People of course associate A lot around the world, lots of people associate you with the Queen because of the film.
Well, in a ridiculous way, which is completely wrong.
- But, um - What does she mean to you? You know, apart from my sister, she's the only other person who's been a total constant in my life, ever since I was you know, came to consciousness, the Queen was there.
And that's an incredible, um kind of rock to have in your life, I think.
Hello.
Hello.
Nice to see you.
Nice to see you, too.
One gets the impression that a lot of these things are decided by committees looking at long lists.
Actually how much is the Queen herself involved in who she wants to celebrate, who she wants to come here? Hugely, this is the Queen's guest list.
No one comes here without the Queen having extended that invitation.
And how much briefing does the Queen need to absorb before an event like this? Because she'll be presumably meeting huge numbers of people she hasn't met before.
Well, the Queen's been involved in this evening from its very conception.
So, as the work has gone on here to develop the ideas that you'll see later, the Queen's been involved at every step along the way.
So, not a lot of briefing because she's built it up with the rest of us.
This evening there's a performance, a mix of traditional and modern culture based on Romeo and Juliet.
Once palaces were closed off, royal refuges, now this one is more like a grand theatrical space, where both guests and hosts are onstage together.
Queen Victoria would have been amazed.
And amused? Well, who knows.
It's hard to imagine her mingling as easily as this.
- Oh, good.
- Fantastic.
It's very interesting.
It's a humbling experience to meet the Queen, I think, and I'm a strong believer in the arts, in the support of the arts.
And all these wonderful people that are here, - that have been here for years - Hmm.
making things work, and I think the performance It's an amazing mix of people, isn't it? It's an amazing mix of people and also times are changing, and seeing a motif like Romeo and Juliet and everything from old to new being involved in that, is a great thing.
One of the other things tonight has done for me is it made me actually quite proud of the industry I'm in.
Yes.
And often or not, I'm a bit ashamed of it.
But actually, tonight I feel quite proud of it because I've met some great people and doing some great things.
New York, essentially.
But I've been here now eight years.
Actually, it was the very first time that I've met the Queen.
It's only a shame because there's no pictures.
They don't allow pictures.
So there's no You can't go, "Hey, look, hey" - "That's me and the Queen.
" - "Sis, that's me and my" One of the longest running campaigns of reaching out was created by the Duke of Edinburgh, a man well known for his direct small talk.
His Award scheme has helped more than seven million young people test themselves, achieve more, push harder, with The Duke often presenting the Gold Award personally, as today at St James's Palace.
- You're not at home.
- Er, no, basically.
People were walking round, hiding inside Senior members of the Royal Family have to cultivate a skill almost nobody else needs.
It's a carefully timed dance through the higher small talk, designed to calm the nervous, restrain the over-talkative, release some tension, produce a little bubble of laughter and in that way, ensure that millions of people leave events like these having had some sort of personal connection with, in this case, the Duke of Edinburgh, but in general, the British monarchy.
And you all walked, did you, for your No, I kayaked, sir.
- Kayak? - Yeah, along the River Tweed.
- Well, it would be down the River Tweed.
- Yeah.
From the start to finish, which was good.
That's a long way, isn't it? Yeah, we drive up to the source and then started kayaking down all the way to the mouth.
It's brilliant, you see, you all got lost walking he gets dumped at the top of the river and floats down.
So how do the Royals learn these techniques? It's a kind of trade, with its trade secrets and its special skills.
Most days of the year, the entire working Royal Family is spread around the country from town halls to schools, hospitals and charities they have personally chosen to support.
Everybody gets their bit of time.
This is a huge undertaking, around 4,000 engagements a year between them.
So how do they do it? This is an evening, often times You learn by watching, by listening, by, as it were, first of all being in the background.
I've got so many memories, very fond memories of when I was younger and growing up and trying to be sort of not get in the way of all sorts of engagements or, you know, events that were going on.
And realising when I got sort of a stiff hit round the back of the head that it was probably time to sort of behave.
I think the first engagement I did was my father volunteered me to give leeks to the Welsh guards on Saint David's Day.
Did the Queen help you in terms of how to do these kinds of things? Well, that first engagement, uh, probably came with helpful instructions in the sense of a structure of the day and the level of expectation, but not much more than that.
She very much leaves the family to go off and find their own way.
If you get it wrong, stand by, um, you will be put back in your place, which, you know, quite rightly so.
But she very much lets us get on with it and choose choose our own sort of choose what we want to support.
But how do they choose? The Queen's granddaughters are getting to the age when they're considering how much to contribute of their time.
So what causes are on their minds? I had an operation when I was 12, so I'm hopefully looking into helping other people learn about the condition I had, so they can help Right.
Can I ask what that was, specifically? Scoliosis of the spine.
- It's when you curve - Right.
So your bones It's the way you're born.
But lots of people have it and lots of children, when they're diagnosed, don't really know what it is.
So So there's something you can bring your own experience to help other people.
Yeah.
I know about it, I'm not just talking Not no experience, I know about this thing.
- And especially, Beatrice is doing - Dyslexia in education.
I think that's something that's really important.
Very important subject, yeah.
Especially primary education, which is something that 'Cause when I got diagnosed with dyslexia at age seven, you know, everyone was sort of thinking, "Why is she so slow to read? "Why is she so slow?" And it was something that I think you could recognise it a lot sooner and get the support there and then.
And then, you can kind of go through your life with knowing that you had a little bit more support.
But it can't all be personal choice.
The spread is too big.
And in 2002, for instance, the Royal Family faced a dilemma.
After the deaths of Queen Elizabeth and Princess Margaret, there were a great many different organisations that were left without a patron or without a president or without some family association.
And then there was a little bit of coordination How did you sort that out? Um, the list is laid on the card table at Sandringham and we all sit round the card table and decide.
Of course, it's not just the individual support that matters, perhaps the Queen's and the British monarchy's most important role is in bringing people, her people, together as a nation.
The most recent and spectacular example of this was, of course, the Royal Wedding.
We love William, we love Kate! We love William, we love Kate! April the 29th, 2011, and Prince William, the Queen's grandson, is due to marry Catherine Middleton.
More than a half a century after the Queen was married here, much about this will be familiar.
The glittering full-fig British monarchical event so many people watch around the world.
The crowd behind me look different and probably sound different from the crowds that were waiting for the Queen's wedding after the war, or for Princess Diana and Charles's wedding, but they're doing exactly the same thing as their great-grandparents and their grandparents and their parents did and they've been camping out all night, people are drinking Thermoses of tea, singing patriotic songs, doing little dances.
This sort of scene is actually almost as traditional as the modern monarchy itself.
How important is it, do you think, for the British monarchy that we've got in Kate Middleton a sort of middle-class member of it, I guess, really? - I think it's fantastic.
Yeah.
- Yeah? It's what Britain's all about, though, isn't it? This is, you know, London having a big party.
Have you been here for earlier royal occasions? Oh, yes, we always come to royal weddings, it's part of the fun, yes.
Once you've been to one, you want to come to them all.
And even royal weddings have arguments about the guest list.
First meeting we had post-engagement, when there was sort of a very big buzz going on and I was obviously very excited and happy about it all, I walked into the first meeting and literally got presented with a list of 777 names on.
And I looked at it and there wasn't one person on there I knew.
And it brought a sort of sense of dread and fear over sort of what was going to happen and who was going to start running the whole day.
But, um, I sort of said, "No, this is not the way it's going to be.
"Let's start again.
" And I rang my grandmother up for some clarification on the issue and duly got told that it was ridiculous and I should start with my own friends.
Boris Johnson, this is a very, very, big day, obviously, for the couple themselves but also for the British monarchy.
It's a huge moment.
But this is of course the anthropologically critical moment in the life of this nation and you could argue, of many other nations.
Because this is the moment when we publicly legitimate the reproduction of the kings and queens of England.
And everybody sees in this fantastic, happy event, this marriage between two young people, they see the incarnation of the greatest institution or the emblematic institution of this country.
So the marriage stands for the continuity of Britain and of British institutions.
That word again, "continuity".
But it's change as well.
Trumpets, but trees in the Abbey, too.
Flags and foliage.
I am a very traditional guy and so is my wife, and so together, we wanted to obviously create that special atmosphere, but at the same time, we wanted to have our own personal twist on it, because at the end of the day, it's our day and so we wanted, basically, everyone to share in our happiness as anyone does at anyone's wedding day.
But it had to be, you know, obviously on a sort of slightly bigger scale than one might normally do.
I think I was just as nervous as William.
Being the ring bearer was a bit of a responsibility and I had it in the cuff 'cause I had no pockets.
And so I was having to try and check to make sure it was there without making it obvious.
As far as I was concerned, I was there to support him, to tell him how great he is.
It was his day so I had to lie a bit, um, and just make sure that he wasn't too nervous and that everything was going to go according to plan.
And while all eyes were on the bride and her bridal gown, behind the scenes the groom's own attire had also been a source of deliberation.
Within the Irish Guards regiments, there's several variances of dress that you can wear.
And I was opting for a different type of dress than the one I wore on the day.
So my grandmother very much decided that the red tunic was very smart and the appropriate one to wear for the day, so I was duly told on that occasion.
So I did as I was told.
I felt a little bit ridiculous, but his red tunic was definitely the one to wear, I think.
So she was right, as she always is.
There's nothing frozen about this as we watch it again, or accidental.
It's tradition with a twist and the message is thought through and serious.
With this ring I thee wed.
With this ring I thee wed.
With my body I thee honour.
With my body I thee honour.
And all my worldly goods with thee I share.
And all my worldly goods with thee I share.
Many, many people were, I think, tremendously encouraged by the fact that here was a very contemporary couple deciding to shape their lives according to historic Christian disciplines of marriage, doing it without fuss, without self-consciousness, stepping into a role with confidence and happiness.
I think it was a very, very joyful and rather relaxed occasion in many ways.
I was quite glad when it was over, though.
Bit of a blur.
Above all, by taking into the highest ranks of the Royal Family someone many people consider their first genuinely middle-class recruit, Prince William is continuing the Firm's long-term hope of always restitching the monarchy into the changing social fabric of the British.
Will we one day have our first black or Asian member of the Royal Family? Well, there's no reason why not.
The Windsor dynasty has always presented itself as the family monarchy.
The ideal family.
But of course, it's also a real family and real families have bumps and upsets and fallings out and even fallings apart.
On the other hand, real families can mend and join hands again and grow again.
True of us, true of them.
And this generation just feels different, even down to the Prince driving his bride off in his father's car to the gentle amusement of his brother.
William's been trying to drive that car for years, and the couple of times he has driven it at home, he's stalled it.
Um, and it is a very difficult car to drive, combined with the fact that he can't drive.
But to make it even harder, he obviously had his spurs on which was very entertaining to see him sort of out of Buckingham Palace.
And, let's be honest, the Royal Wedding also felt like a happy ending after troubles that had dogged the Queen's own family.
In 1949, as a young married woman, the Queen made a speech to the Mothers' Union denouncing divorce and separation as producing some of the darkest evils in society.
Back then, monarchy and iron-strong traditional marriage seemed a natural equation.
Divorced people couldn't be invited to the Royal enclosure at Ascot.
When in 1955, the Queen's sister, Princess Margaret wanted to marry a divorced man, Group Captain Peter Townsend, a senior minister threatened to resign from the cabinet and the marriage was vetoed.
But during the Queen's reign, attitudes have changed at bewildering speed.
Three of the Queen's own children divorced.
The sad collapse of the marriage of Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer produced a full-scale Royal crisis and a time of deep personal unhappiness for the Queen herself, undoubtedly the worst year in her life.
1992 is not a year on which I shall look back with undiluted pleasure.
In the words of one of my more sympathetic correspondents, it has turned out to be an "annus horribilis".
1992 was the year that struck the Queen like no other.
On her 45th wedding anniversary, the seat of the monarchy for almost 1,000 years, Windsor Castle, went up in flames after a humble spotlight began a blaze which spread through more than a hundred rooms.
The inferno accelerated a dramatic shift in the way the Queen dealt with money and tax.
The government suggested taxpayers should fund the £37 million bill for restoring Windsor but there was an outcry and it came when questions were already being asked about why the Queen didn't pay tax on her personal income.
The fire at Windsor I think affected the timing of the announcement of it, but that sort of area of reform people had been thinking about for quite a while and it was progressive.
Because there had been a sort of drumbeat of criticism and the opinion polls and so on were showing that people felt that she should pay tax? Yes, I mean, that that she shouldn't be above that part of the law.
During that period, at any stage were you worried about the status of the monarchy in the country? I was concerned at the shower of criticism and unpopularity that the monarchy was facing in the short term.
I wasn't worried about the long term for two reasons.
Firstly, we have seen this before, Queen Victoria being an obvious example, very unpopular for a very long period of time after Prince Albert died.
And secondly, the roots of the monarchy are so deep that even in a period of unpopularity it can sustain that and come through at the end of it.
The Queen moved quickly, finalising her decision to pay income tax and deciding to meet the Windsor repair bill by throwing open the doors to paying visitors, starting with Buckingham Palace.
Since 1993, they've arrived in their tens of thousands to see the famous corridors, the grand interiors and the priceless art collection.
The income has grown and grown, though this is money not for the Queen but earmarked for the care of those palaces and artworks.
The greatest traditional source of Royal wealth are in fact the Crown Estates, monarchy's farmland, London's squares, forests and foreshores going back to medieval times.
A new deal means the monarchy will get a percentage of that income, with safeguards and the right of MPs to oversee spending.
Most of what the Queen has isn't really hers personally, she can't go out and sell it, and the annual cost of the system to the rest of us isn't exactly huge, it's been estimated that every year the monarchy costs each of us about half the price of a cup of coffee at a high street chain.
Still, monarchy is a relatively expensive option.
Or is it? What do you think Britain would be like, what would be the difference if there was no monarchy, if there had been no Queen's reign and we were a republic? A number of people think, well, we would be better off because we'd spend less money on all of this.
Well, let's knock that on the head, because if you look at those countries with presidencies, turns out they spend almost as much if not more, in some cases, than we do.
- So I don't think - It doesn't save you money.
It doesn't save you money.
Actually, when I think about the Royal Wedding, which I had the privilege to be at, that sort of event, I mean, and the global stage, you know, how much would we have paid for the advertising for our British design industry to get all of that on global television around the world? A third of the world's population, I read, probably watched that.
Probably watched British designers selling their wares.
You know, this was fantastic free advertising.
The Windsor fire was a great disaster for the Royal Family but from the ashes of that disaster has grown an enormous success.
The 2011 season, half a million people have come through here.
And it raises enormous amounts of money for the Royal Collection.
In total around the country, all the palaces, all the galleries, all the shops, something like £42 million a year.
In modern Britain, never underestimate the huge economic importance of cake.
In her 60 years, the Queen has broken new ground well beyond simply opening up the palaces, and in 2010, this palace, Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, was the setting for a highly significant moment.
Scotland has had a long, sad history of bigotry and hostility between Protestants and Roman Catholics.
It wouldn't be the same at a Rangers-Celtic match if opposing supporters didn't clash.
So it's a significant place for the Queen, Supreme Governor of the Church of England and a member of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland, to receive for the first time the Catholic Pope of Rome on a State visit.
It meant a great deal, of course, to Scotland and Scots to have the visit starting in Scotland.
And secondly, in terms of the communities of Scotland, the fact that the whole country was able to embrace His Holiness the Pope with the warmth and affection that was displayed, it is a great unifying feature of Scottish society.
It shows how far we've travelled in terms of overcoming prejudices of the past.
This is the Queen as unifier, puller-together, symbol of healing, in the very place where a Catholic Queen Mary was imprisoned and she was later beheaded on the orders of Queen Elizabeth, an earlier Queen Elizabeth.
A hundred years ago, even 50 years ago, it would have been almost unthinkable for the Pope of Rome and the defender of the Protestant faith to meet here in Scotland, all friendly, not a hint of tension.
And when the Pope and the Queen get together, here between them on the carpet an old taboo lies, dead.
Your Holiness, in recent times you have said that religions can never become vehicles of hatred, that never by invoking the name of God can evil and violence be justified.
Today, in this country, we stand united in that conviction.
We hold that freedom to worship is at the core of our tolerant and democratic society.
The Queen has been willing to face many taboos in her time, some more difficult than others.
It's May 2011, and the Queen is about to set foot in the Irish Republic.
No reigning British monarch has been here for a century.
When it comes to broken ground, it doesn't get much more broken than this.
Now, this is not a visit without risk, there were security alerts in London and in Dublin before the Queen's arrival and there's almost nowhere that she's going that doesn't have some kind of sensitive historical echo.
So this is not entirely easy stuff.
The Queen, as the representative of the British State, takes credit for all the things that Britain gets right and has done in history.
And as the representative of the British State, sometimes she has some harder jobs to accomplish as well.
As she touches down, a reminder that this is not a nation of royalists.
Well, it's just another Head of State, you know, we have Obama as well coming at the end of the month, you know? So I don't really think much of this one way or the other.
I don't really think it's that important but I think that now that she's coming, we will show her as much courtesy as we can garner.
It's the first visit in about 100 years from the monarch, um, maybe an apology would be good.
Too many people have died because of the British.
Um, absolutely shocking.
On the same day her father became King, the parliament of the Irish Free State removed the monarch from its constitution.
Now his daughter arrives, as the Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to meet the then Irish President, Mary McAleese.
If there is one place on Earth which has defined its identity against the British Crown, it's here.
Now, it's important that we remember our history, but sometimes, then, we have to forget it again.
And for all the noise we're about to hear, that is the Queen's job.
She is here to put a little history to sleep.
It's like a door that's been locked to her for a long time, um, and she's been dying to see what's on the other side of it, because many, many people won't understand not being able to go somewhere or see something for your life and being sort of almost like a child, not allowed to go into a certain room.
For her, very much a case of Ireland was sort of off limits.
She's always wanted to go and be able to go in an official capacity, so I think it was a huge turning point for her.
Must have been a certain amount of nervousness beforehand, because it's There's a lot of history to put to bed there.
Mmm.
I thought I was nervous about it.
I think, um, but I was hugely admiring of the fact that the Royal Family wanted to go ahead with this visit relatively quickly after the finalising of the last bits of devolution of power to Northern Ireland, they didn't want to wait and play it a little bit longer.
And I thought that was a fantastic judgement.
A century ago, crowds met the Queen's grandparents, King George Vand Queen Mary, with enthusiasm.
At the time Home Rule, a reconciliation of Nationalist Ireland with Imperial Britain, seemed likely.
The First World War and the Irish Easter Rising put paid to that, and a bloody history began to uncurl.
Today on the streets of Dublin, the public are kept well back from the Royal party and voices of discontent are kept to the traffic-free side streets.
Roads have been sealed off to keep the Queen moving.
Yes, the security from our point of view was exceptionally heavy and exceptionally tight and had to be so, because this was receiving global coverage on everything from al-Jazeera to Bloomberg.
And you know, personally, my own office got several thousand messages and each of them contained two words, "pride" and "respect".
The Queen understands the torment of the Irish Troubles, violence has marked much of her 60-year reign and it reached her own family in the most direct way.
In 1979, the Queen's cousin, Lord Louis Mountbatten, the former First Sea Lord, one of the most colourful and closest influences on the inner circle of the Royal Family, was assassinated by the Provisional IRA at his home in Ireland.
Lord Mountbatten had taken his boat and members of his family on a day out in County Sligo.
On board was a boat hand, Paul Maxwell, Mountbatten's eldest daughter Patricia, her husband Lord Brabourne, her mother-in-law and their 14-year-old twins, Nicholas and Timothy.
The seven of us went out, we had been going for a few minutes.
Beautiful, flat, calm sea, not a cloud in the sky.
And my grandmother, sitting also in the stern with her legs up in front of her, said, "Oh, isn't this a beautiful day?" And shortly after that, there was this almighty bang.
I mean, it wasn't for a long time that I knew that it was the IRA, I just thought, because we'd had problems with the boat, I thought the engine had blown up.
And not until after I came out of intensive care did somebody explain to me, "No, no, it was a bomb", which I was really surprised about.
Only three people survived the blast.
Patricia, her husband and just one of their twins, Timothy, were all seriously injured.
So at what point did you realise that Nicky was dead? My sister Joanna, one of my two sisters, came to me.
And she explained that "When you arrived in the hospital, "you were unconscious.
You woke up, Nicky never did.
" And I knew, really, in an instant that either I was going to survive or I would never get over it.
And in that instant, I think the path towards being a survivor started.
A few weeks later, his parents still hospitalised, the Queen stepped in and invited Tim and a sister to Balmoral to help with his recovery and he saw a side of the Queen seen by very few outsiders.
We arrived through the door and I look down this long, imposing corridor and the sight that greets me is of the Queen, Prince Charles at her side, and she's sort of steaming up the corridor towards us with a sort of It's difficult quite to describe but it had this sort of feeling of a sort of mother duck gathering in some lost young.
And they just wanted really just to go into their default setting of love, of care, of asking about family, of plying us with soup and sandwiches and wrapping us up, in what I can only really describe as a sort of motherliness coming from the Queen.
The Queen's visit to Ireland was, in a completely different way, another act of healing.
Formal salve for old wounds, it goes to the most sensitive places possible.
I always had this idea that in a way, the culmination of, um, the changed relationship between the Republic of Ireland and the UK would be a royal visit, and it's something I'd discussed with the Irish Prime Minister at the time and this again is a role that probably only she could have played, is to put the stamp on the fact that history was history and the future was going to be different.
Perhaps one of the most important places for the Queen to visit was Croke Park.
In 1920, during the Irish War of Independence, 13 spectators and a player were killed here as forces under British control opened fire at a match.
Earlier that day, IRA assassination squads had shot 14 suspected British intelligence agents dead.
It became known as Bloody Sunday.
At Dublin Castle that evening, the Queen made an unexpected opening to her speech.
And she expressed sympathy, though not apologies, for what had happened between the British and the Irish.
Wow.
I wondered to myself, because I speak Irish, how she would get on with the words "a Uachtarain agus a chairde" which means "President and friends".
And yet she did it very well.
In fact, it was exceptionally good pronunciation.
It had an absolutely electric effect.
All these people who were sitting around who, quite strong republicans, were You could sort You know, you could hear the hearts melting in the room.
You could just see she'd used the authority of the monarchy, her own brilliance and experience, to crack a problem and to improve a relationship and to change the nature of what has gone between us in a really absolutely spellbinding way.
We can never forget those who have died or been injured and their families.
To all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past, I extend my sincere thoughts and deep sympathy.
With the benefit of historical hindsight, we can all see things which we would wish had been done differently or not at all.
She did close a circle of history.
So, everybody can make a contribution for the future, and after all, we are closest neighbours.
Ireland and Britain for many reasons now are probably the closest in every sense of that word, and that's to be to be welcomed.
- A lot of people coming tonight? - Yeah, quite a lot.
Back home, as Head of State, she's welcomed so many overseas leaders, icons of the 20th century, such as France's Charles De Gaulle, South Africa's Nelson Mandela and Cold War Russians like Khrushchev.
She knew the last Emperor of Ethiopia, Haile Selassie, and obeying her ministers, she's also had to greet some brutal tyrants.
Nicolae Ceausescu, the Marxist dictator of Romania, welcomed in 1978.
He gave her a communist medal.
Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe came in 1994, although he was later stripped of his honorary knighthood.
Uganda's Idi Amin, a monstrous leader, arrived to visit in 1971 and promptly asked the Queen to arrange a visit for him to Scotland, Ireland and Wales, so he could meet "the heads of revolutionary movements "fighting against your imperialist oppression".
So, she's known all sorts.
2011, the Queen is about to welcome her 101 st Head of State, and he really is welcome.
Your Majesty.
So, here we are on the sun-dappled lawns of Buckingham Palace, where President Barack Obama has just arrived, only a few days after the Queen's historic reconciliation visit to the Republic of Ireland.
And there is something that connects these two events, because when Barack Obama first became US President, many people in Whitehall were worried that he was not particularly pro-British, even a bit cool.
And part of the reason for that was that Barack Obama's own grandfather was arrested, imprisoned and tortured by forces loyal to the Crown just before the Mau Mau Rebellion, one of the darker colonial moments in the young Queen's history.
And so, the fact that when he arrives here, the Queen has formed such a strong personal relationship with Barack Obama and his family is a sort of human reconciliation.
I'm not saying that it's the most important thing in British-American relationships, of course not.
But at the human level, this sort of thing really does matter.
They are extraordinarily gracious people, they could not have been kinder to us.
I met the entire Royal Family the last time I was the first time I was in England, in April of 2008, and then Michelle and the girls actually visited London again and went to Buckingham Palace.
She could not have been more charming and gracious to the girls.
They actually had a chance to ride in a carriage on the grounds.
Um, I think what the Queen symbolises, not just to Great Britain but to the entire Commonwealth and obviously the entire world, is the best of England, and we're very proud of her.
We got a pretty good deal out of that.
On all of these visits, small touches count.
Each guest gets a special little show from the Royal Collection archives.
This time it emphasises how hostile Queen Victoria was to slavery in America.
And it displays King George III's anguished handwritten note, "America is lost!" He travelled incognito as Lord Renfrew.
Theoretically.
This is a gentle little break in the day, the President is off to Downing Street for serious talks about the world economy and then he's going to dress up for a State banquet in the Buckingham Palace Ballroom, which won't be your average dinner party.
We've got the Queen and the President here, and then key other guests across the top of the table.
The silver-gilt that we're using is part of the grand service, commissioned by George IV in 1811, approximately, although it's been added to over the time.
There's in excess of 4,000 pieces in this.
- All right? Yeah? - Yeah.
Every time, once the table is set at about 6.
00 pm, in comes the boss for a final check.
Perfect.
Looks nice, doesn't it? Thank you.
These are rather fun, aren't they? And she really does check.
What about those microphones for the after-dinner speeches, shouldn't they be hidden? Well, they're a bit more obvious this time, aren't they? And of course, 'cause he's so tall, so I believe he's Yes.
- Is that all right? - I put the mics up high, so - He's taller than you.
- He's taller than me.
- A good bit taller than you.
- Okay.
But I think that they're quite sensible.
They are, it'll pick them up fine.
The Queen checks the menus, the flowers, the seating plan, she'll show visitors to their bedrooms, where she's suggested bedside books for them.
It's all gently flattering, there is no such thing here as a routine foreign visitor.
- It looks nice having the roses there.
- Thank you, that means a lot.
Bowl of roses in the front.
I wondered if there'd be anything left after Chelsea, because This is what we were rather concerned about, that all the good stuff went to Chelsea, but we seemed to not do too bad.
I think people may not realise, around the world, what an iconic figure the Queen is.
The highlight of the State visit is the Buckingham Palace banquet.
It does an enormous amount of good.
Can you quantify it? Very difficult.
Does it matter? Yes.
Is it in the British interest? Beyond a shadow of a doubt.
Would we lose something if it wasn't there? We certainly would.
I must say, though, this dinner is a humbling reminder of the fleeting nature of presidencies and prime ministerships.
Your Majesty's reign has spanned about a dozen of each and counting.
That makes you both a living witness to the power of our alliance and the chief source of its resilience.
It's been a delicate dance between tradition and modern times.
The unsentimental demands of international politics and old-fashioned politeness.
And not everything survives Britain's changed status, as the Queen herself knows all too well.
I name this ship Britannia.
I wish success to her and to all who sail in her.
In 1953, the Queen launched the Royal Yacht Britannia, which would sail the seas for half a century as her personal vessel.
What was it like being on Britannia with her? It was the most enjoyable thing I did, the most enjoyable single thing that I did.
I wouldn't have missed it for anything.
Did you think that the Queen was more relaxed, perhaps, on Britannia, than she would have been elsewhere? She certainly was.
There was a sort of magic moment at the end of the day when she came down the stairs from her room and kicked off her shoes and gave herself a good scotch and embarked on a sort of resume of the day.
You saw a different person, the Queen in trousers and a shirt and sitting around, telling funny stories from the past.
I think the yacht's just been enveloped in one huge blow, you know, and wherever we went the heavens opened and the wind blew.
We were the luckiest people, to be able to go on holiday on Britannia and I mean, so many memories.
She was a home away from home.
I mean, certainly in the early years when they were doing sort of six-month world tours, Britannia was home.
Aboard her, the Queen made almost a thousand Royal and State visits around the world, playing host to leaders from Boris Yeltsin to Ronald Reagan.
If the Queen was Queen of the United Kingdom, Britannia would be a floating extravagance.
But she wasn't and isn't, she's head of the 54-member Commonwealth, and Britannia was part of the plan to keep that extraordinary organisation, ranging from huge countries to tiny little barnacle-encrusted lumps of rock, together.
But there was a secret role for Britannia throughout the Cold War.
Once the Royal Yacht was in existence, its real purpose in war was not to be a hospital ship, that was the cover story.
It was her floating nuclear bunker.
It would lurk in the sea lochs on the northwest coast of Scotland.
The mountains would shield it from the Soviet radar, and at night it would quietly go from one sea loch to another.
It wouldn't be static.
So, if the Prime Minister was wiped out, once the Sovs knew where the bunker was that he was operating from, from the signals traffic, The Queen would be in a position, out of the rubble, to appoint a surviving Prime Minister, because only the Queen can appoint a Prime Minister.
So, the British constitution was taken care of even unto Armageddon.
And there she would've been somewhere beyond Kyle of Lochalsh ready to do the business when her kingdom was a smoking and irradiated ruin.
Dreadful thought, dreadful thought.
As it was, the yacht proved to be a safe haven of a different kind.
Unlike her other residences, this was the only one built for her.
She designed it in great detail herself, and this is what she chose.
This is her bedroom on Britannia, and it is commendably plain, it's rather 1950s in style.
Lots of people of that generation will recognise it exactly.
And you can make the same point about the Duke of Edinburgh, because his bedroom, designed by him, is just next door.
And it's a rather starker, more masculine version of the same thing.
He left very detailed instructions about it, however.
For instance, when it came to the pillow case, no frills.
As she said goodbye in 1997, after a million miles shared, the Queen was seen to shed a tear.
Conservative ministers had never inveigled New Labour politicians onto the boat to enjoy it and so, after that year's general election, Tony Blair's government had no substantive debate about decommissioning Britannia, without a replacement.
This happened just when we came in.
- Yes.
- And you know, it was at a time when we were keeping to some very tough financial measures, it would have been a very hard sell at the time.
But it was arguably something that had earned its way as an institution.
Yeah, no, and I think there is a case for that, um So, I don't know whether if it had come at the end of the 10 years, maybe I would have had a different view of it.
There's talk, though not from the Queen, of a new privately funded yacht.
Well, we'll see.
Meanwhile, Britannia herself remains a gleaming motionless museum, tethered outside Edinburgh.
The last cruise that we did on the west coast in '97 Yeah, it was very emotional.
And very sad for Granny as well, because, you know, it was a massive part of her life and her growing up.
I think it says up there, when you go and look round it, there's a picture of her and it says, "The place where I feel most free.
" Which just says it all.
Most people in their eighties have stopped changing.
For the Queen, that isn't an option.
Central to the monarchy's survival is the constant need to adapt and stretch out to everyone from thinkers and leaders to the crowds at garden parties.
When God Save the Queen is played, some people still stand to attention.
She has lived at attention, 60 years of never standing still.
To think, for example, in 1947, the Cold War really froze and yet, in 1990, by 1990, it's over without a general war or a global nuclear exchange.
And if you consider a woman who was monarch when Stalin was still in the Kremlin, seeing through all that.
She's got on with the job, she hasn't expressed public angst either about being monarch or about being monarch of a declining nation, she's just got on with it.
So, it's arguably the case that she's been a very good frontperson during this period, when in many ways Britain has de-Victorianised, downsized, de-imperialised.
She's been terrific for that.
What the Queen's managed to do is she's managed to bring the monarchy into the 21 st Century, as best as she can.
Every organisation needs to look at itself a lot of the time, and the monarchy is a constant, evolving machine and I think it really wants to reflect society, it wants to move with the times and it's important that it does for its own survival.
In her 60-year reign, the Queen has seen much and said little.
In Episode 3, we revisit the rare moments when we've heard the Queen's inner thoughts.
What I say to you now, as your Queen and as a grandmother, I say from my heart.
Those words in that speech were her own.
We go right back to February the 6th, 1952, the day she unexpectedly became Queen, and we follow her to a country where the monarchy's future is hotly debated, Australia.
And what about the Commonwealth? She's been referred to as the glue that bonds the Commonwealth together.
And in this final episode, her family reveal who the Queen herself turns to for support.
I personally don't think that she could do it without him.