If catch-up allows, I’d recommend seeing The Queens Hidden Cousins. This is the achingly sad story of Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon, the Queen’s first cousins (from the late Queen Mother’s side) who were born with learning difficulties and spent most of their lives all but forgotten in an institution. As did three other cousins of the Queen, the film reveals towards the end. Throughout their lengthy stay, there is no known record that these sisters were ever visited by any member of their families, despite their aunt, the Queen Mother, being a Patron of MENCAP. To say ‘what a shame’ about such shame doesn’t begin to capture it.
The film explores the harsh realities of life inside former asylums like the Royal Earlswood (now luxury flats), through the personal testimony of former residents, their families and the staff who worked there and cared for the ‘inmates’. The story isn’t new, and the tabloid press exposed it many years ago. It seems the film adds nothing to what we know and while it is debatable whether another media intrusion is worthwhile, tackling the shame and taboo around learning difficulties is always worth it.