Minnow Films

Feature Films:

Short Films:


The Queen’s Hidden
Cousins 2011

Minnow Films for Channel 4  

1 x 60 minutes
Minnow Films for Channel 4

Nerissa and Katherine Bowes-Lyon, born with learning disabilities in 1919 and 1926, were first cousins to our present monarch Queen Elizabeth. In 1941, at the ages of 22 and 15, they were sent to live at the Royal Earlswood Hospital in Surrey, originally built in 1855 as an 'Asylum for Idiots'.

Whilst their sisters Diana and Anne enjoyed lives of privilege and inclusion in the upper echelons of the aristocracy, Katherine and Nerissa were all but forgotten, written out of family history.

This moving film explores Katherine and Nerissa’s story, in the process exposing the harsh realities of life inside former asylums like the Royal Earlswood. By combining the personal testimony of former residents, their families and staff with the insight of medical historians, this often-shocking film examines the changing attitudes to learning disability in British society over the twentieth century.

“A sad but revealing documentary”
Daily Telegraph

“Kelly Close’s film interviewed enough of the Earlswood’s former nurses (they kept offering her tea) to build a portrait of two women who although unable to express themselves, were capable of fun and affection and by no means unaware of their provenance”
The Times

The Queen’s Hidden  Cousins

Kelly Close
Tanya Freedman
Executive Producers
Simon Ford
Morgan Matthews
James Bicknell
Archive Producer
James R.M. Hunt
Production Manager
Hannah Wythe
Francis Longhurst
Mike Robinson
Steve Standen
Sound Recordist
Paul Nathan
Sam Hooper