BBC’s Countryfile is granted access to the Queen’s royal residences

Queen and Countryfile: BBC is granted rare behind-the-scenes access to the monarch’s royal residences at Sandringham, Balmoral and Windsor

  • The flagship BBC show will mark its 30th anniversary with special royal episodes
  • Cameras were also granted rare access to the sprawling grounds of Windsor
  • Show set to give ‘unprecedented insight’ into how the royal estates are run
  • Show was guest-edited by Prince Charles in 2013, and Anne has also appeared

The Queen has given Countryfile presenters exclusive access to life inside her royal residences, it has been revealed.

The flagship BBC show will mark its 30th anniversary this summer with a series of special episodes filmed at Sandringham House in Norfolk and Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire.

Cameras were also granted rare access to the sprawling grounds of her official residence at Windsor Castle in Berkshire.

The episodes, set to coincide with the 65th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation, will explore her lifelong attachment to rural Britain, where her passion came from, and her knowledge and love of animals, a BBC spokesperson said on Friday. 

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Rare access: The Queen has given Countryfile presenters exclusive access to life inside her royal residences, it has been revealed

Royal coup: The flagship BBC show will mark its 30th anniversary this summer with special episodes broadcast from Sandringham House in Norfolk and Balmoral Castle in Aberdeenshire

The show will give ‘unprecedented insight into how these estates are run, revealing how actively involved both The Queen and The Duke have always been in their development’, the BBC added.

Presenter Adam Henson said: ‘I once had the great pleasure of meeting Her Majesty the Queen, and in our conversation I soon realised that, like me, she loved her animals. 

‘It became clear that the working countryside and her animals were her passion.’  

A source told The Mirror: ‘It’s a real coup to be allowed to film from within the Queen’s various gardens and homes around the UK. It is certain to be revealing. 

‘We haven’t had this much insight into the monarch’s life since we discovered back in 2003 that she keeps her cereal in Tupperware and enjoys EastEnders.’ 

The weekly BBC One show, which pulls in millions of viewers every week, focuses on rural and environmental issues across Britain and has been a family favourite since 1988.

Produced in Bristol, it is currently presented by Helen Skelton, Anita Rani, Ellie Harrison, John Craven, Adam Henson, Matt Baker and Tom Heap.

Sandringham House, in Norfolk, has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862 and features a working farm

Picturesque: Regarded by the Queen as a ‘bolthole from Palace formality’, Sandringham  stands in a 20,000 acre estate set in picturesque woodland

Balmoral is set across 50,000 acres of Scottish countryside and has been the Scottish home for the Royal family since it was bought in 1852 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert

Sandringham House, in Norfolk, has been the private home of four generations of British monarchs since 1862 and features a working farm. 

Regarded by the Queen as a ‘bolthole from Palace formality’, it stands in a 20,000 acre estate set in picturesque woodland, and is where the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh spend their annual Christmas break.

Balmoral, by comparison, is set across 50,000 acres of Scottish countryside and has been the Scottish home for the Royal family since it was bought in 1852 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert.

It is not yet know which, if any of the presenters visited the Queen’s royal homes, but most episodes see two presenters travelling to a particular region.

Executive Editor Bill Lyons said: ‘It’s a privilege to work on Countryfile and a delight that the programme has reached its milestone 30th anniversary.  

Royal guest: In 2013, the show marked its 25th anniversary with a special one-off episode guest-edited by the Prince of Wales (pictured with Countryfile presenters on his Highgrove Estate)

A right royal coup! Cameras followed Charles as he walked around his Highgrove Estate (pictured) and showed off his expertise in the traditional craft of hedge-laying on his Highgrove Estate

Special guest: The Princess Royal also opened her country estate at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire to the BBC One show’s cameras in 2014

‘We’ve shared many memorable moments with our viewers during those three decades, but we look to the future and hope to celebrate the beautiful British countryside for many years to come.’ 

Launching in 1988, Countryfile was initially fronted by Anne Brown, with veteran broadcaster John Craven joining the series in 1989.  

In 2013, the show marked its 25th anniversary with a special one-off episode guest-edited by the Prince of Wales.

Cameras followed Charles as he showed off his expertise in the traditional craft of hedge-laying on his Highgrove Estate. 

And the following year, Charles’ sister Princess Anne opened her country estate at Gatcombe Park, Gloucestershire to the BBC One show’s cameras.

Home from home: The Queen with her dogs on the lawn at Balmoral during the Royal Family’s annual summer holiday in September 1971, part of a series of photographs to mark the monarch’s Silver Wedding Celebrations in 1972

Viewers will no doubt been keen to see whether the monarch herself makes an appearance on screen. 

The news comes after the Queen gave Sir David Attenborough an exclusive tour of the gardens at Buckingham Palace as part of one-off ITV show The Queen’s Green Planet.

The show, which gave an unprecedented insight into the monarch’s home life and love of gardening, focused on the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy (QCC), a vast network of native forests across Britain and the Commonwealth which is set to be protected forever in the monarch’s name.

Speaking to the Radio Times about the interview, Sir David confessed to being nervous before the meeting – but said the Queen was ‘very gracious’.

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