We’re continuing to count down the days until Queen Elizabeth II turns the big 9–0! Today we’re celebrating with films! Who doesn’t love to binge-watch tv and movies, right?
Royals as Actors
I look back in horror at the day when royal films were made for tv! Ugh, the awfulness. Sadly, they continue churning them out to this day.Now, don’t assume that “real” movies–those released in the theater, are always fabulous. They aren’t. Take Madonna’s W.E. about King Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson. You can skip that one. Even Masterpiece, P.B.S. home of Downton Abbey, aired the dreadful Bertie & Elizabeth. Happily, they’ve come a long way since the days when the late Princess Margaret’s son-in-law, Daniel Chatto, once played his cousin-by-marriage, Prince Andrew!
Did you know that Prince Andrew’s ex-wife, Sarah Ferguson, produced the movie Young Victoria? Or that her daughter, Princess Beatrice (named for Queen Victoria’s last child) played one of the ladies carrying Queen Victoria’s train inthe movie’s coronation scene? The photos below show
Another royal, well she’s in the line of succession, but does not bear the title Her Royal Highness, had a role as an extra in Downton Abbey as one of the debutantes with Rose. That young royal is Princess Alexandra of Kent’s (the Queen’s first cousin) granddaughter, Flora Olgilvy who is somwhere around number #45 in the line of succession.
Flora’s cousin-by-marriage, Sophie Winkleman (aka Lady Frederick Windsor, daughter-in-law of the Queen’s first cousin and George V/Tzar Nicholas II (they were cousins, too!) look-a-like, Prince Michael of Kent) played in the West Wing-like drama, the Palace as Princess Eleanor (and of course, played Queen Susan in Narina!).
Lastly, Prince Edward is rumored to have chosen the title Earl of Wessex after seeing another great royal film, Shakespeare in Love, in which ever-dishy Colin Firth plays Lord Wessex. Edward produced a decent tv series on various royal homes as well as a not-awful, but not great, documentary on his disgraced Uncle David (King Edward VIII) in which he calls the late King his “namesake” if I remember correctly. Supposedly he was named for the current Duke of Kent–cousin and sort-of- pesky younger brother-ish relative of the Queen. This was titled Edward on Edward.
So here is the list:
While I do not make a bit of money of the links, I will point out that most–if not all–of these can be binge-watched today for a small fee to Amazon Instant Video. Just search by title.
Young Victoria–see above. Sarah Ferguson is reportedly working on a second Victoria film. I do hope it will also be written by Julian Fellows of Downton Abbey fame.
There have been a few Victoria miniseries as well. This one was pretty decent. Plus it starts Colin Firth’s brother, Jonathon.
The Queen–Oscar-winner Helen Mirren. Don’t believe everything is true though! It is fictionalized as various Blair administration memoirs later revealed. Watch for Philip’s memorable bedtime term of endearment!
Colin Firth’s masterful portrayal of Bertie–King George VI, father of the current Queen, is not to be missed. He is superb. The King’s Speech. I bought a copy of this yesterday at Target for $5–if you are a PRIME Member [I do not get $$ from Amazon for saying this!] it’s about the same price on Amazon right now.
I don’t recall who won the Best Actress or Best Picture that year, but this film was cheated. Judi Dench and Billy Connolly recreate one of the most intriguing of all royal friendships–that of the grief-felled Queen Victoria and her servant, John Brown. While I couldn’t stand the way the Prince of Wales and Princess of Wales were portrayed, that’s a very, very minor point. Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown.
While this mini-series stretches the truth and just plain fabricates the part at the end with the coronet, The Lost Prince is an amazing portrayal of King George V’s youngest son–the baby brother of Edward VIII and George VI, is superb. Miranda Richardson IS SO Queen Mary in this one! Though how the idiotic portrayal of Tzarina Alexandra–a favorite Grandchild of Queen Victoria who had been in and out of England all her life–got in this film with a faux French accent and Diva ways is beyond me! This film is delicious for another reason–the fabulous fictional friendship between the King’s 4th son, Prince George and Lord Stanfordham, the King’s Private Secretary, Lord Stamforham. The Lost Prince.
Forget the newer Edward and Wallis, actor Edward Fox IS Edward VIII–owns the role, just as Robert Hardy is Winston Churchill (aka Harry Potter’s Minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge) and Edward Herrmann, pre-Gilmore Girls, owned Franklin Roosevelt (and Brian Keith owned Theodore Roosevelt in Wind and the Lion). I’ve watched this series so many times! This was written before everything was declassified, but is drawn from Francis Donaldson’s outstanding biography of Edward VIII. Edward and Mrs. Simpson. (I’ve now got the song “I danced with a man, who danced with a girl, who danced with the Prince of Wales” stuck in my brain!)
Next weekend, we’ll binge-watch Royal Documentaries. Enjoy!