From the Tudors to the Windsors, the English monarchy has had an extraordinary legacy, a large impact on historic policies, and has always supplied fodder for the pop culture’s canon. Most recently, cinematic culture has taken a liking to creatively reviving some of England’s most prominent monarchs.
From a historical drama to comedic sitcoms and King Henry VIII or Queen Vicotria, the genres of films and television vary drastically alongside which generation fo monarchs the producers choose to work around. Here is a look at the top ten films and television shows centered around the English Monarchy.
10 Film: The Other Boleyn Girl
The film, starring Natalie Portman as Anne Boleyn, is a cinematic adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s novel with the same title. The Other Boleyn Girl sheds light on Anne’s sister, Mary, played by Scarlett Johanssen, whom of which King Henry VIII originally falls in love with, before Anne forces herself into the midst of the monarch.
This film follows the cunning socialite’s rise in power, which includes not only her infamous marriage to King Henry VIII but also the birth of England’s historical monarch, Elizabeth I. Her disgraceful fall from the king’s fancy is also noted in the film with Anne Boleyn’s execution.
9 Show: The White Queen
Inspired by Philippa Gregory’s novel, this STARZ show, The White Queen, is a BBC miniseries that follows the political advancements of Elizabeth Woodville amid the 1464 war between the Lancaster and York houses. This tantalizing tale is full of mystery and intrigue as the monarchy is thrown into a war between houses and many are unsettled by Elizabeth Woodville and her witch-like reputation, as Edward IV decides to marry her and make her Queen of England.
The Lancaster house attempts to regain the thrown through not only wars on battlefields, but also warlike whispers behind closed doors. This show predominately focuses on the women of both houses and how they skillfully conspire to better their own families’ standings at court. This 10-part series only has one season, but that makes the show watchable in a single day.
8 Film: The Favourite
The Favourite is a 2018 film that centers on Queen Anne in her elder years with two women, Lady Sarah and fallen aristocrat Abigail, vying to be in the Queen’s favor. Olivia Coleman plays Queen Anne, Emma Stone is Abigail, and Rachel Weisz, who plays Lady Sarah, all star in this delectable drama that acts as a back-handed comedy.
This film is a conglomerate of award funny lines and scenarios mixed with the strict rules of England’s aristocracy. In 2019, Olivia Colman won an Academy Award for an Actress in a leading role.
7 Show: The White Princess
Inspired by Philippa Gregory’s novel, this STARZ show, The White Princess, is a BBC miniseries that follows the next generation of royals after those in The White Queen, with the princess being Elizabeth Woodville’s daughter. While England is at peace upon the union of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York, their fiery, war-forged marriage is anything but easy.
While the families still conspire against each of the two houses (Lancaster and York), Elizabeth of York seeks to solidify her standing at court and proclaiming her motto to be “hidden and patient” and this applies not only to court politics, but also those within her bed chambers.
6 Film: Victoria & Abdul
Victoria & Abdul, starring Judi Dench and Ali Fazal, focuses on the friendship built between a mature Queen Victoria and a clerk set to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee, while the monarch’s inner family seek to destroy such an alliance, despite the new perspectives and growth that Queen Victoria embraces.
5 Show: The Spanish Princess
Inspired by Philippa Gregory’s novel, this STARZ show, The Spanish Princess, is a BBC miniseries that follows Catherine of Aragon’s ambitious political pursuits to be Queen of England. The show chronologies Catherine’s short-lived marriage with Prince Arthur, where the princess claimed to have never lain with him and thus began plotting her way into marrying Prince Henry VIII, which was said to have been a mutual love, but history tells otherwise.
Overall, this miniseries is full of spicy characters, heated and passionate drama, and political interference. The costumes in this show are phenomenal as they work to integrate both the English fashion of the time period as well as that of Spain.
4 Film: Young Victoria
Young Victoria (2009) follows the young monarch, Queen Victoria, who is played by Emily Blunt, as she navigates England’s political requirements and her budding relationship either husband, Prince Albert (Rupert Friend).
In a twist of fate, this political marriage actually turns into a romantic venture as the two historical characters fall in love.
3 Show: The Crown
Netflix’s original series The Crown is widely regarded as one of the most popular narratives to follow the English Monarchy. This drama series, which is expected to span 5 seasons in total, follows multiple generations of the modern monarchy.
Whether it be the amazing soundtrack, the phenomenal acting, or the closely followed historical timeline, Netflix’s The Crown exceeds the audience’s expectations with a very well-crafted show.
2 Film: The King’s Speech
This film, released in 2010, follows Prince Albert (Colin Firth) on his quest to take command of his stammer by hiring Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush).
This critically acclaimed film has won multiple awards including, Best Motion Picture of the Year, Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role (given to Colin Firth), Best Achievement in Directing (given to Tom Hooper), Best Writing, and Original Screenplay which was given to David Seidler.
1 Show: The Windsors
This parody sitcom is the perfect show if you’re looking to watch the royal family navigate comical fictional shenanigans. Unlike many other shows about the English monarchy, The Windsors seeks to poke fun at the highly privileged family through implementing dry, satire comedy within the brief sitcom episodes.
Next: Netflix’s The Crown Ending One Year Early With Season 5