BBC lied about Queen's 'tantrum'
12th July 2007
The BBC has issued a grovelling apology to the Queen today after it lied about her "storming out" of a photo shoot.
The corporation admitted it had "misrepresented" what had happened in an encounter between the Queen and photographer Annie Leibovitz in Buckingham Palace.
In a trailer for a BBC documentary, the Queen is seen apparently leaving after a clash with Leibovitz over whether she should take off her tiara for a picture.
But the BBC was forced to admit the trailer was misleading - and that pictures of the Queen leaving and apparently complaining to a retainer in fact showed her coming into the room to be photographed.
The moment Annie Leibovitz asked the Queen to remove her crown
Needless to say, one was not amused: the Queen strides away muttering angrily
She was then seen angrily pacing the corridors of Buckingham Palace
The apology came after BBC1 controller Peter Fincham claimed the Queen had been seen "walking out in a huff".
Mr Fincham said at a press launch for the documentary yesterday: "Definitely a memorable bit is Leibovitz getting it wrong and the Queen losing it a bit and walking out in a huff. In most of what we see there's a twinkle in her eye."
Footage showed her saying to a lady in waiting: "I'm not changing anything. I've had enough dressing like this, thank you very much." In fact, she was saying this to the lady in waiting as she walked in.
"In this trailer there is a sequence that implies that the Queen left a sitting prematurely," the BBC said today. "This was not the case and the actual sequence of events was misrepresented. The BBC would like to apologise to both the Queen and Annie Leibovitz for any upset this may have caused."
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "We can confirm that the Queen did not leave the sitting prematurely."
Royal sources said courtiers were "furiousÓ at the Queen being misrepresented.
Sources also revealed it had taken the BBC almost 24 hours to issue the apology.
A source added: "The Queen left for engagements in Belgium where she is marking the 90th anniversary of the battle of the battle of Paschendale yesterday at around 3.30pm.
"As soon as the palace became aware of the inaccuracy, officials contacted the BBC and asked them to clarify the situation."
Annie Leibovitz at work
The BBC statement was issued shortly before midday today.
The TV footage was unveiled at the launch of BBC1's autumn schedule.
The documentary, A Year With The Queen, follows her as she prepares for her 80th birthday and state visit to the US last year.
The programme observes the working life of the Queen and other members of the Royal Family as they go about their duties at home and abroad.
It covers events including the State Opening of Parliament, royal tours, investitures and garden parties.
Friendly handshake: Annie Leibovitz meets the Queen before the photoshoot
Today's apology is the latest humiliation for the corporation.
It comes in the same week as it was issued with an unprecedented £50,000 fine for faking the results of a phone-in quiz on Blue Peter.
In 1987 the BBC was forced to apologise to the Queen when their former royal correspondent Michael Cole passed details of her Christmas speech to reporters.
Mr Cole resigned over the incident and went on to work as a spokesman for Harrods owner Mohamed Fayed.
Four official portraits of the Queen were released by Leibovitz. Leibovitz is famous for her work with celebrities - memorable images include a naked John Lennon cuddling up to Yoko Ono, and a Vanity Fair image of Demi Moore, naked and heavily pregnant.