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BBC apologises to Queen Elizabeth II for misrepresentation in documentary

Friday, July 13, 2007

Queen Elizabeth II
Image: NASA.
Cquote1.svg The BBC would like to apologise to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused. Cquote2.svg

—BBC statement

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has apologised to Queen Elizabeth II and photographer, Annie Leibovitz, after a trailer for a documentary suggested she had walked out of a portrait sitting when the photographer asked her to remove her crown.

The trailer shows a clip of the photographer telling the Queen, "I think it will look better without the crown because the garter robe is so..." The Queen responded with "Less dressy! What do you think this is?" The following clip shows the Queen walking down a corridor saying, "I'm not changing anything. I've had enough dressing like this, thank you very much."

It has since been clarified that this second clip shows the Queen arriving at the sitting, not departing.

In a statement the BBC said, "In this trailer there is a sequence that implies that the Queen left a sitting prematurely. This was not the case and the actual sequence of events was mis-represented. The BBC would like to apologise to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused."

The BBC blamed a production error for the mistake, saying, "This assembly was never intended to be seen by the public or the press. Unfortunately, this assembly was given in error to the BBC personnel who were preparing the BBC One autumn launch tape."

The company responsible for the editing of the documentary, RDF Media, also apologized to the Queen. Michael Grade, previous controller of BBC One, blamed the mistake on "young, untrained" workers who "don't understand that the basic ethic of broadcasting in this country is trust."

Photographer, Leibowitz, commenting about the session in Vanity Fair even before the release of the trailer, said, "She doesn't really want to get dressed up any more. She just couldn't be bothered and I admired her for that."

Sources