Empire strikes back: Star Wars request to film on Queen’s estate refused

The Queen might have made an apparent reference to Star Wars in her 2015 Christmas address but that does not mean she was willing for the epic film series to use her land.

It has emerged that a Star Wars request to film on land owned by Queen Elizabeth II was all out rejected. The Crown Estate snubbed the film franchise when it asked to film scenes at Windsor Great Park in Berkshire.

A spokesperson for the estate told the BBC they were not swayed by star stature or Hollywood glamour, saying: “Our head isn’t turned by star names or star films.”

The Crown Estate’s head of commercial operations, Nick Day, said the proposed scenes were not suitable for the park but did not reveal the particular Star Wars film being proposed.

Star Wars was just such a huge thing that the risk for the park was just too great,” he told the corporation.

“The location they were interested in wasn’t suitable for large numbers of people in there.

“Our priority is to maintain and protect Windsor Great Park and we can facilitate film crews if we’re sure the risk to the park is minimal.

“But Star Wars is a huge machine, and there’s also massive outside interest in those sort of things. It wasn’t right for here.”

The 5000 acre Royal Park, which was Windsor Castle’s private hunting ground for many centuries, is a popular set for films being shot at neighbouring Pinewood Studios.

It has been used for films such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa, and Bridget Jones Baby. The latter of which saw the farmer’s field used to film a rock concert scene. It was also recently utilised for the new Winnie-the-Pooh film Goodbye Christopher Robin.

Mr Day explained he is forced to rebuff at least eight out of ten film location requests regardless of how hefty the film’s budget is, saying: “If it doesn’t work for here then, no matter who you are, I’m afraid that dollars, bright lights, and names don’t sway us.”

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