Nat Geo’s Being the Queen Will Shed Light on the Royal Reaction to Princess Diana’s Death (EXCLUSIVE)

Calling all royals fans! Nat Geo’s Royal Night of Programming will feature a new documentary called Being the Queen, which is a must-watch for all those fascinated with the monarchy.

TV Guide has an exclusive sneak peek at Being the Queen, which focuses on the tragic death of Princess Diana and the private and public reaction of Queen Elizabeth II during the aftermath. While Diana’s mourners flocked to Buckingham Palace to publicly grieve the death of the Princess of Wales, the royal family remained at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, causing some public outrage from those who expected the Queen to return to London and acknowledge the mourners. 

In never-before-heard interviews with Lady Angela Oswald, lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother, and George Lascelles, cousin of Queen Elizabeth II, those closest to Queen Elizabeth II attempt to shed some light on what was really happening during those devastating days after Diana’s death. 

Being the Queen premieres Monday, Aug. 31, at 9/8c on Nat Geo. 

TV Insider (Exlusive)

Nat Geo’s Being the Queen Will Shed Light on the Royal Reaction to Princess Diana’s Death

When it comes to Queen Elizabeth II, “Our curiosity is never quite satiated,” says Being the Queen director Tom Jennings. For this new documentary on the 94-year-old royal, he tracked down 100-plus rare audio interviews with friends, family and staff.

No talking heads — “You’re hearing them tell the stories in first person,” he notes. (Jennings also helmed 2017’s Diana: In Her Own Words, airing before this at 7/6c.) Here are three intriguing topics.

  1. Wedding Jitters

Not from Elizabeth, who was just 13 when she met the future Prince Philip at Dartmouth Naval College. “I think the princess fell headlong in love with him at that moment,” says Philip’s cousin Lady Pamela Hicks, who describes the cadet as an “absolute Greek god.” But King George VI and then-queen Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon made her wait till she was 21 to get engaged. “What parent wouldn’t be anxious about a daughter who wants to marry the very first man she’s fallen in love with?” explains royal historian Robert Lacey. As for the groom’s nerves, a friend who attended his bachelor party before the 1947 wedding recalls, “His face was white. This man just began to realize what he was getting into.”

  1. Aberfan

After the 1966 tragedy in this Welsh town, where an avalanche of mining sludge killed 28 adults and 116 children, “there was much turmoil about whether or not the Queen should visit,” Jennings says. (She didn’t want to detract from rescue efforts but came eight days later — one of the few regrets of her reign, notes Gyles Brandreth, who knows Philip and wrote a book on the couple.) Princess Margaret’s husband, Lord Snowdon, did visit right away — and explains why in a moving, never-before-heard clip.  

  1. Diana’s Death

After the 1997 loss of the Princess of Wales, Elizabeth remained in Balmoral, Scotland, with her grandsons William and Harry. Intimates bristle at the public’s response: Lady Angela Oswald, a lady-in-waiting to the Queen Mother, says with disbelief, “She was castigated for not leaving [the boys] and coming to London to mourn in the streets with people who’d never even met the princess.” Raised to put duty first, she finally prioritized family. Notes Jennings: “Because she is so iconic, it’s easy to forget that she is a grandmother.”

Being the Queen, Monday, August 31, 9/8c, National Geographic.