The British royal family has been the subject of many films and series over the years. The monarchy has spanned decades with magnificent characters positioning themselves as key players in the history books. With its long history, it’s inevitable that the family will have had their lives portrayed on screen. For example, the late Queen Elizabeth II, whose reign is the longest in the Commonwealth, saw her life story turned into great films and shows.
From a film that chronicles a monarch’s rise to power to a reimagining of a princess’s life within the confines of the palace, there are plenty of gripping films about the royal family worth watching. Not only do they provide eye-opening insight into a system entirely different from most countries, but they are also exceptional films that offer drama and intrigue like no other.
“The White Queen” (2013)
The White Queen follows three women who were instrumental in the conflict dubbed the Wars of the Roses that determined the rightful claim to the throne of England. The miniseries was based on a series of books by Philippa Gregory and was continued with two miniseries sequels.
Featuring Rebecca Ferguson, the show received mixed reviews from critics in the UK, but garnered a much more positive reaction in the US. The US version is said to have more explicit scenes than the UK version. The ensemble cast and production are praised by viewers and critics. The White Queen was nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Miniseries.
“The Tudors” (2007 – 2010)
The Showtime series tells the life of King Henry VII interpreted by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The king is infamous for his six marriages, including his second to Anne Boleyn. The Tudors features new faces that have since found mainstream fame such as Henry Cavill and Natalie Dormer.
King Henry VIII reigned from 1505 to 1547, but the show did not follow the timeline established in history. The show’s writers took many liberties in the story to maximize drama for viewers. Despite, The Tudors is still a hit with viewers who made Showtime’s biggest debut at the time.
Featuring Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth depicts the beginning of the reign of the titular queen in the 1550s, filled with plots to marry her off and threats to her status. The film also features Geoffrey Rush and Christopher Ecclestonand written by Michael Hirst – who created The Tudors.
The Shekhar Kapur The film was nominated for 7 Oscars and was also a commercial success. The film has been hailed for bringing exceptional drama to this chapter of the British royal family. Although it also received some criticism for its historical liberties, it did not prevent the release of its sequel, Elizabeth: The Golden Age9 years later.
‘Mary Queen of Scots’ (2018)
Mary Queen of Scots finds Queen Elizabeth’s claim to the throne challenged by her cousin who has returned from France. Margot Robbie plays Queen Elizabeth while Saoirse Ronan plays the title role.
As with many historical films, there are major inaccuracies in the recorded truth. Nevertheless, the film is ignited by the good performances of the two protagonists. ‘Mary Queen of Scots‘ also features outstanding production, costume design, and makeup, so it’s no surprise the film was nominated for two Oscars.
“Young Victoria” (2009)
Written by Julian Fellowes (Downton Abbey) and made by the late Jean-Marc Vallee (Dallas Buyers Club, big little lies), The young Victoria follows Victoria’s courtship and marriage to Prince Albert of Belgium and her first reign as Queen.
With Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria, the film was praised for its romantic plot and the film’s efforts to be as historically accurate as possible. Blunt and his co-star Friend Rupert were electric on screen. The young Victoria a colorful and often forgotten period in the Queen’s long reign.
‘Victoria & Abdul’ (2017)
Victoria and Abdul depicts the real friendship between Queen Victoria and her servant Abdul, a native of India. This film marks Judi Denchplays the second time at Queen Victoria after Mrs Brown 20 years before.
Realized by Stephen Frears, the film showed a warm and powerful human drama. Dench and Ali Fazal delivered natural and sometimes funny performances. With its incredible production design, it’s an emotionally beautiful and enjoyable film to watch.
“The King’s Speech” (2010)
Winner of the Best Picture Oscar, The King’s Speech follows King George VI (Colin Firth) as he learns to overcome his stuttering disability with the help of speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
The film is a critical and commercial success. He is also praised for portraying an empathetic and realistic depiction of a stutter. Not only is it a fascinating chapter in British history, it’s also a feel-good film about a man who managed to overcome his greatest obstacle. The friendship between the king and his therapist is another highlight of the film.
Kristen Stewart sports a crisp British accent and transforms into Princess Diana in Pablo Larainit is spencer. The film captures Diana’s struggle and state of mind as she confronts her husband and the royal family on a vacation getaway.
Stewart’s performance was widely praised by viewers and critics. Even Princess Diana’s former staff chimed in to say that Stewart had been very successful in her manners. spencer itself is a unique take on the actual figure, which presents her in a much more complex way than her previous depictions.
‘The Queen’ (2006)
Helen Mirren received the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Queen. The film reconstructs the Queen and Royal Family’s response to princess dianait’s death. The film also features James Crowell and Michael Sheenwho was also praised for his performance as Tony Blair.
Written by Peter Morgan who also created The crownthe film was praised for giving viewers a dramatic glimpse from an unseen perspective of an event that shook the world. Queen Elizabeth II herself complimented Mirren on her performance and invited her to the palace for tea.
‘The Crown’ (2016 – present)
One of the most lavish shows on streaming services, The crown now heads into season 5. The series depicts the figure of Queen Elizabeth II as she assumed the role at such a young age, dealing with prime ministers and carrying out her duties as a monarch.
The crown is already in its third actor to play the queen, of Claire Foy, Olivia Colman and now Imelda Staunton. The series features outstanding performances from the ensemble cast throughout its seasons, excellent production, and beautiful cinematography. Due to its immersive drama and careful plotting that reflected real events, some viewers mistook it for precise work. Although Netflix has now added a disclaimer, it speaks to the quality of this show.
KEEP READING: 25 best movies and TV shows about English royalty