16 Surprising Facts from HBO's 'Queen of the World' Royal Documentary

'Queen of the World' airs on HBO and takes us inside of the Queen's life as she prepares to pass down her duties to the younger generation of the royal family—including Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William, and Kate Middleton. Ahead of its premiere on October 1, find out the most surprising things we learned from the documentary.

Members Of The Royal Family Attend Events To Mark The Centenary Of The RAF
(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)

For the upcoming Queen of the World documentary (opens in new tab)the Queen agreed to let cameras film her and other members of the royal family to showcase her life's work dedicated to the success and growth of the 53 Commonwealth countries.

The doc will premiere on HBO on October 1, but MarieClaire.com received an exclusive look at the hour-long film that has plenty of surprising behind-the-scenes moments—including Meghan Markle talking about her wedding dress, Prince William cracking dad jokes, Prince Harry acting refreshingly normal, and the Queen actually being shown from a human perspective rather than simply as a figurehead.

Here, we breakdown the most surprising/best things we learned from the documentary. Warning: spoilers are most definitely ahead.

Prince Harry doesn't spend too much time in Granny's house...

In the documentary, Harry met with the eight members of the Caribbean Scholars Initiative who were living in Buckingham Palace for a six-week training program with the royal household. While joking with them about the non-existent bunk bed situation in the Palace he told them, “You guys are spending way more time in Buckingham Palace than I ever have." Same.

...Probably because she still makes him nervous.

Yes, Prince Harry did in fact admit that he still panics (opens in new tab) when he accidentally bumps into the Queen. During his conversation with the Caribbean Scholars he asked them, "Have you bumped into the Queen yet? If you suddenly bump into her in the corridor...don’t panic. I know you will...WE ALL DO."

Trooping The Colour 2018

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)

Champions Day at Ascot Races

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)

Meghan's significant role in the royal family doesn't go unnoticed.

In an interview with Benjamin Fraser, one of the people from the Commonwealth who met with Harry and Meghan during the Youth Challenge reception (opens in new tab), he recalls, "Meghan Markle is the daughter of a black woman and she’s entered the royal family. That gives me pride. She is going to become a symbol of hope and encouragement to many young women across the Commonwealth, and I'm inspired."

Preparations for Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan

(Image credit: WPA Pool)

Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle

(Image credit: WPA Pool)

Her "something blue" has a super romantic meaning.

Meghan asked the woman from the Royal Collection Trust, tasked with preserving her wedding gown and veil, if she noticed the "something blue" stitched inside (opens in new tab). When she said no, she explained that it was a piece of fabric sewn on from the dress she wore on her and Harry's first date. I'm not crying, you're crying!!

Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Windsor Castle

(Image credit: WPA Pool)

Meghan didn't see her wedding dress until the morning of...

The Duchess revealed that she only had two or three meetings with Clare Waight Keller, the Givenchy designer who created her wedding dress (opens in new tab), because she totally trusted her. Right after this she nervous-laughed and admitted that she didn't see the final version of the dress until the MORNING OF HER WEDDING.

Photography,

(Image credit: Giphy)

...And she's only seen it once after the wedding.

Meghan and Harry's wedding outfits will be featured in a special exhibition (opens in new tab) at Windsor Castle so members of the public can witness them in person. In the documentary, Meghan is shown examining her dress while it's being unwrapped by conservators of the Royal Collection Trust before it goes on display, and emphasizes this is the first time she's seen her gown since the wedding. She looks completely in awe of it while lightly stroking the floral embroidery.

Prince Harry Marries Ms. Meghan Markle - Procession

(Image credit: Karwai Tang)

Harry had no idea Meghan would include the flowers of the 53 Commonwealth countries on her gown.

She kept the idea completely secret until the big day. Meghan said he was "over the moon" when he found out she made the choice to honor the Commonwealth, and so were other members of the royal family.

Her wedding dress is a direct nod to the Queen.

No wonder why Meghan and the Queen get along so well (opens in new tab). In a touching tribute, the Duchess replicated the Queen's coronation day dress she wore in 1953 for her wedding. The Queen also had the flowers of the Commonwealth embroidered on her gown (albeit much less, considering there were only a few countries who belonged to the Commonwealth at the time).

The Queen's favorite designer is Norman Hartnell...

The British fashion designer made her coronation dress, and also designed the wedding gown of Princess Margaret (opens in new tab)—the Queen's late sister.

BRITAIN-ELIZABETH-CORONATION-PHILIP

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...And she's also a home movie enthusiast.

Embarrassing videos of Charles and Anne? Check.

The 2012 Braemar Highland Gathering

(Image credit: Max Mumby/Indigo)

Justin Trudeau has known the royal family since he was a little kid.

The Canadian prime minister (opens in new tab) makes multiple cameos throughout the film, and I had a mini heart attack each time. If you look closely while watching, you'll notice the amazing red Canadian socks he wore to the Palace. Fun fact: The Queen has toured Canada 25 times.

CHOGM London 2018 - Day 4

(Image credit: WPA Pool)

BRITAIN-COMMONWEALTH-ROYALS-SUMMIT

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The royal family wasn't originally allowed to greet the crowds.

Apparently the Queen didn’t start saying hello to the crowds until the 1970s, and thus began the “walkabout." The royals aren't supposed to shake hands with the public, but Princess Anne said it has actually become a “shaking hands exercise.”

Prince Harry And Meghan Markle Visit Cardiff Castle

(Image credit: Chris Jackson)

Speaking of Princess Anne, she's very underrated.

Princess Anne is the Queen's only daughter, and she's completely hilarious. She participated in multiple interviews throughout the documentary and her best line came when she discussed greeting the crowds: "Phones are bad enough, but iPads? ...You can’t even see their heads.”

Royal Ascot 2018 - Day 3

(Image credit: Mark Cuthbert)

Prince Charles' favorite book is Harry Potter.

95 percent of the MarieClaire.com team is utterly thrilled about this, though he did not specify which book. Buy a copy in his honor here (opens in new tab).

Prince William loves to make dad jokes.

When someone congratulated Will on the impending arrival of Prince Louis (opens in new tab) he joked, "As long as he doesn’t come within the next 20 minutes, we’re dandy."

The Queen really is a complete badass.

The documentary reminds us that Elizabeth started her reign of the monarch right after her father died at the mere age of 26. She was "a young woman leading when there weren’t any young women leading," which is incredibly powerful.

The Queen, Duke Of Edinburgh, Prince Of Wales & Duchess Of Cornwall Visit Poundbury

(Image credit: Samir Hussein)

Queen of the World premieres on HBO at 8 p.m. on October 1. Find out how to watch it here (opens in new tab).

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Rachel Epstein
Rachel Epstein

Rachel Epstein is an editor at Marie Claire, where she writes and edits culture, politics, and lifestyle stories ranging from op-eds to profiles to ambitious packages. She also manages the site’s virtual book club, #ReadWithMC. Offline, she’s likely watching a Heat game, finding a new coffee shop, or analyzing your cousin's birth chart—in no particular order.