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Queen upset over Channel 4 documentary on Royal Family: Report

Last updated: 13 November, 2011
London, Nov 13, (PTI): 12:45 IST

The British Queen is reportedly very ''upset'' over a documentary that portrays the UK's Royal Family as hard-hearted to the point of cruelty.

According to her close confidantes, the Queen is "hugely distressed" by the "utter lies" that two of her cousins, who branded "imbeciles" by doctors, were locked away and ignored by the family for 50 years, the 'Sunday Express' reported.

Channel 4 claims the documentary, Queen's Hidden Cousins, tells the "sad but true story" of Nerissa and Katherine Bowes- Lyon, the daughters of the late Queen Mother's older brother John Bowes-Lyon, who were born with learning difficulties and spent most of their lives at the Royal Earlswood Hospital.

The programme, to be aired on Thursday, claims that the two daughters were largely shunned by the Royal Family.

A former nurse at the hospital tells the documentary: "They (the sisters) never received anything at Christmas either, not a sausage."

When Nerissa died in 1986, it is claimed that no family members attended her funeral and she was initially buried in a pauper's grave. Katherine is now 85. She is cared for in a Surrey care home run by the Oaklands Trust.

One care worker tells the documentary: "She's a lovely person. She loves to watch TV, especially royal weddings. She could really have prospered but instead she's been left to vegetate."

However, one of the Queen's close confidantes said: "The Queen is very, very upset at the thought that this programme is being made which is just not true. Both Katherine and Nerissa were visited very regularly by their family but neither could speak, and throughout their lives had the thinking age of four years old.

"They were unable to recognise visitors, often becoming hugely distressed as they struggled to work out who was with them. They also both regularly received presents, especially at Christmas."

The confidante added: "If Channel 4 had bothered to get the facts right and ask people who knew the true story, this would be a different matter. They just didn't ask anybody and came up with this upsetting nonsense which brings nothing but hurt."

The Queen's cousin, Lady Elizabeth Anson, in a statement to the newspaper said that, far from being a taboo subject, Katherine and Nerissa were very much a part of the family as sisters of her mother, the late Princess Anne of Denmark.

But, a Channel 4 spokesman said: "The programme-makers approached members of the Bowes-Lyon family to take part in the programme but they declined. However, a comment has been provided by Lady Elizabeth Anson."

There was also no official response from Buckingham Palace, the newspaper said.

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