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BBC reveals details of new programme featuring never before seen footage of King Charles III

Spanning seven decades, the BBC Studios-produced film offers a rare behind the scenes glimpse of His Majesty’s life.


“This documentary brings audiences a treasure trove of scenes filmed across seven decades in the life of The King.”

— Claire Popplewell, Creative Director for BBC Studios Events Productions

The BBC has announced further details of a special 60-minute documentary, Charles R: The Making of a Monarch, that will offer audiences a chance to witness unseen and rarely seen footage of King Charles III, telling his more than 70-year story as heir to the throne, through his own words. This is the story of how a Prince became a King.

From BBC Studios, the producers behind 2022’s hugely popular Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen, the film will debut on BBC One and BBC iPlayer on Sunday 30th April. Five never before seen images from the programme were released today including shots of the then Prince flying a plane solo, a visit to the Royal Mint with Queen Elizabeth II, a trip to Malta when he was young, and shot of The Prince decorating a Christmas tree at Windsor.

For the documentary, Buckingham Palace has granted the BBC exclusive access to unseen footage of Prince Charles from the 1969 documentary ‘Royal Family’ – with producers gaining access to reels of film held at the BFI National Archive, responsible for the preservation and digital restoration of the Royal Collection of films.

The never seen before footage shows the Royal Family‘s most personal moments including them enjoying a bonfire at Sandringham, Prince Charles flying solo, and Prince Charles on a private visit to Malta in 1968. There are also unseen clips of The Prince’s many royal engagements, including a trip to the Royal Mint with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, and a visit to a North Sea oil platform. Other intimate family moments that have never been seen before include Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and other members of the Royal Family taking a trip by hovercraft, and members of the Royal Family sitting down to dinner onboard The Royal Yacht Britannia.

In addition to this new footage, BBC Studios has also been given special permission to use clips from the Royal Family’s private home movie footage, illuminating The Prince’s formative years by capturing his early love of nature, gardening and animals, as well as other rare footage of Queen Elizabeth II driving her Land Rover.

The programme is told through His Majesty’s own words, as recorded through the decades, giving audiences an unfiltered and immersive portrait of our new Monarch, and features key moments in The King’s life, both personal and public.

Drawing on the Royal Family’s home movies from The Royal Collection and archive news footage, audiences will hear The King discuss his childhood years, including his memories of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation, as well as his school days, adolescence, and investiture as Prince of Wales. It also contains recollections of The King’s military service and personal commentary of his commitment to charitable work, as well as his private passions and the role of the institution he now heads up.

Simon Young, the BBC’s Head of History says: “It’s a real privilege to be trusted with such rare, unseen archive material to create a new and distinctive portrait of someone so famous and photographed. As Their Majesties’ Coronation approaches, this film will give audiences a fresh insight into his remarkable life"

Claire Popplewell, Creative Director for BBC Studios Events Productions added: “This documentary brings audiences a treasure trove of scenes filmed across seven decades in the life of The King. Unique and unseen moments with contemporary archive sources and the spoken words of His Majesty, Charles R: The Making of a Monarch tells the story of how a Prince became a King.”

Charles R: The Making of a Monarch, a 1x60’, is a BBC Studios Productions for BBC One and iPlayer. The Executive Producer is Liz Hartford, the Director is Tim Kirby and Claire Popplewell is the Creative Director. The Commissioning Editor for the BBC is Simon Young.

About BBC Studios

BBC Studios is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group with sales of £1.6bn (21/22). Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen and beyond, the business is built on four pillars: a global Content Studio (producing, investing and distributing content globally); Channels & Streaming platforms in the UK and across the world; a Brands & Licencing operation which seeks to amplify the impact of IP; and the successful UK-based multi-channel network UKTV. Around 2,400 hours of award-winning British programmes made by the business every year, with three-quarters of its revenues from non-BBC customers including Discovery, Apple and Netflix. Its content is internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, with brands like Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear, Bluey and Doctor Who., BBC Studios’ global digital news platform, has 139 million unique browser visits each month.

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