01.31.12 1:36 PM ET
Princes William and Harry Talk Their Grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, for BBC Film ‘The Diamond Queen’
Prince Harry says in a rare interview published in Britain Tuesday to mark the forthcoming Royal Jubilee that his grandmother the queen couldn’t “do it without” Prince Philip, her 90-year-old husband, who suffered a heart attack shortly before Christmas.
The article, published Tuesday in Britain’s Radio Times, is written by the British broadcaster Andrew Marr, who spent a year shadowing the queen for a book and documentary, The Diamond Queen. The documentary will be shown on the BBC in Britain on Feb. 6, which also happens to be the 60th anniversary of Elizabeth’s accession to the throne. Her formal coronation took place on June 2, and this year’s national celebrations in Britain, which will see more than a million people lining the banks of the Thames to watch the a 1,000-boat flotilla sail down the river, are scheduled for the first week in June. In the piece, Marr writes, “Prince Harry reflects on her ability to turn up, still smiling, at places she might not want to be: ‘These are the things that, at her age, she shouldn’t be doing, yet she’s carrying on and doing them,’” he said in an interview just before the duke’s heart operation at Christmas. “‘Regardless of whether my grandfather seems to be doing his own thing, sort of wandering off like a fish down the river, the fact that he’s there—personally, I don’t think that she could do it without him, especially when they’re both at this age.”’
Prince William, who also spoke to Marr on the record for his films, adds, “I think she doesn’t care for celebrity ... and she really minds about having privacy in general. And I think it’s very important to be able to retreat inside and be able to collect one’s thoughts and collect your ideas … and then to move forwards.”
William says it was “a very tricky line to draw between private and public and duty and I think she’s carved her own way completely. She’s not had a blueprint.”
Marr’s time shadowing the queen included the royal wedding, the historic visit of reconciliation to the Irish Republic, a speech at the United Nations in New York, and Barack Obama’s second arrival at Buckingham Palace. Marr writes that “she has found a personal chemistry with the Obamas that is both real and useful.”
Tony Blair, who is also interviewed by Marr, refutes in the three-part documentary the story that it was his office who wrote the “As your Queen and as a grandmother” speech she made after Diana’s death. “Those words and that language were her own ... absolutely not written by New Labour, no—and the very personal touch was actually hers,” Blair says.
Marr adds that while “there is, of course, an aura of respect and seriousness” among those who work for her, her “Cockney police” refer to her as the “Baked Bean.”