EXCLUSIVE: Queen Elizabeth II will be relying on loved ones during a somber birthday.
The reigning monarch’s 95th birthday is the first following the death of her husband Prince Philip, who was buried at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle on Saturday.
“Family is incredibly important to the queen,” said Bullen. “A good example of that is the interview Prince Harry gave to James Corden in February. He revealed the queen bought his son Archie a waffle maker because that’s what her great-grandson wanted. This is a woman who is queen and yet she’s asking what her great-grandchild wants. Family is always on her mind.”
The award-winning documentarian has been making programs about the royal family for nearly 20 years and has worked closely with Elizabeth’s eldest son, Prince Charles, for eight. He is the executive producer of “Elizabeth at 95: The Invincible Queen,” which explores how the British royal family has become one of the most influential corporate brands in the world.
“We offer a whole host of documentaries on the royal family and the one thing that is always present is her relationship with the family,” he said. “She genuinely loves those moments where she’s with them and it shows. If you look at the big Christmas party she holds every year, she holds it for everyone – including the extended family. The most famous woman in the world loves being with her family because she can truly be herself. This is a woman whose every move is well-watched. And when she’s with her family, she can truly open up and be honest.”
“The one thing the British royal family has stressed over the years is the need for each other,” he continued. “During good times or bad, she relies on her family for support. And I imagine there is enormous comfort in that. There’s no doubt that family is incredibly important to the queen.”
Bullen recalled doing the TV coverage of Elizabeth’s 90th birthday celebration at Windsor Castle, as well as her response to the festivities.
“I remember speaking to her afterward and said, ‘Did you enjoy the event, your majesty?’” he said. “She said, ‘It was great, but there was just too much about me.’ It was the queen’s 90th birthday and yet she felt there was too much about her. But still, you really witnessed her deep relationships with her family. I am certain she will connect with them this year.”
“I think that’s one of her greatest achievements as a queen – her love of family,” Bullen added.
Philip will rest at the Royal Vault alongside the remains of 24 other royals, including King George III, until Elizabeth’s death. The queen and her prince are expected to be buried together in the Royal Burial Ground on the Frogmore Estate close to Windsor Castle.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.