There is no denying that the British Royal family holds a certain fascination. They seem like a romantic throwback from the past that still lives strong in “merry old England”. They are both an essential part of the democratic government of the United Kingdom and her Commonwealth, and celebrities that are fascinated over the style of the Kardashians.
Learn a bit about the real history and role of the Royal family, and indulge in some of their dramatic, reality TV worthy scandals with these six movies and shows on Netflix that star the British monarchs.
The Crown (2016-)
It will be no surprise to see this Netflix Original series at the top of the list as it has been a phenomenon, and also quite controversial in terms of telling the story of the living Royal family, rather than sticking to the safer territory of the past.
It was developed as a kind of spin-off to the 2016 film The Queen, which looked at the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana from the perspective of Queen Elizabeth II, the reigning monarch.
The movie helped promote international fascination with the monarch, and so the series looks at her life.
Season one covers the period from her marriage to Philip, Duke of Edinburgh in 1947 to the controversial disintegration of the marriage of her sister Princess Margaret and engagement to Captain Peter Townsend in 1955.
Season two covers the period from the Suez Crisis in 1956 to the birth of Prince Edward in 1964. Claire Foy plays the young Elizabeth in seasons one and two.
Season three looks at the period from 1964 to 1973, which includes when Harold Wilson was prime minister. Olivia Coleman steps in to play the queen as her reign progresses
The fourth season looks at the period from 1979 to the early 1990s, when Margaret Thatcher was prime minister, and Princess Diana married Prince Charles. Gillian Anderson joins the cast as Thatcher, and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.
It will be interesting to see just how far the series continues, and whether they will deal with the latest Prince Harry and Meghan Markle scandal.
There is no denying that the most popular and talked about royal of the modern era is Diana, the woman who married Prince Charles, give birth to Prince Philip and Prince Harry, divorced Prince Charles, and was killed in a car accident while being chased by the paparazzi.
This movie tells her story, focussing on the last two years of her life after she left the Royal family. Naomi Watts featuring in the titular role.
The King’s Speech (2010)
Going back a generation, Colin Firth stars in this film about King George VI, who was unexpectedly thrust into power following the abdication of his brother. Now, a speech impediment that was never an issue becomes a major concern as he must address the nation.
His wife enrolls him in elocution lessons with an eccentric Australian speech and language therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. The two develop a special friendship and prepare the new monarch for an important wartime radio broadcast in 1939.
The Royal House of Windsor (2017)
This is a six-episode documentary series that tells the story of the current Royal family, the Windsors. It starts with the beginning of the dynasty in 1917 when King George V changed the royal family name from the German Saxe-Coburg and Gotha in response to anti-German settlement during World War One.
The series covers the dynasty up until the death of Princess Diana. The final episode focuses on Prince Charles and his very different attitude to the role of the monarchy than his predecessors.
The Young Victoria (2009)
This film stars Emily Blunt as Queen Victoria, the monarch of England from 1837 to 1901. It focuses on her early years and her marriage to Prince Albert, played by Rupert Friend.
Written by Downtown Abbey’s Julian Fellowes, it is a love story, but the heart of the story is a woman trying to establish herself and her power in a man’s world, and a man trying to come to terms with being the consort of the queen.
The Windsors (2016-)
For a change of pace, this is a comedy sitcom that uses the characters of the Royal family as its cast. But the stories themselves are completely fictional with Camilla presented as a villain determined to become queen, and Kate Middleton as a gypsy that will never fit in, and Pippa as a scheming and envious sister.
The characters are far enough away from reality to be clearly fictional, but it does throw a little bit of light on the absurdity of a royal family in the modern-day and age.
What To Watch Next
Continue your exploration of all things British with the Julian Fellowes series The English Game that tells the story of the birth of football (or soccer if you will), or check out our list of all the best British shows on Netflix