Royal Fever: 3 Things to Watch if you Liked "The Crown"
A documentary-series and two movies about the British Monarchy for everyone who loved "The Crown".
Please note: There are mild spoilers for "The Crown" in this article.
For the past two years, I was studying a Master's degree in London. Being a foreigner living in London, I was curious about all things related to the British Monarchy. I visited the Tower of London to see the Queen's Jewels, often walked through St. James' Park (next to Buckingham Palace) and watched the Royal Guard rehearsing early on Saturdays. I visited Windsor Palace and went room by room hooked to my audioguide listening to historical facts (you'll find that I'm a bit of a history nerd).
But, for months, even while living in London, I avoided watching Netflix's "The Crown" (more than anything, for fear of getting hooked to a new show for weeks). But, during the lockdown, it became a different story! At some point, my boyfriend and I were out of quality things to watch, so we listened to the recommendation from our parents and several friends and gave "The Crown" a chance. Needless to say, we binged on the whole four seasons in the first two weeks, and we loved it!
Isn't there a little magic to watching a show based on historically relevant people who are still alive today? The Royal Family has always had a (deliberate) air of mystery around it. Watching "The Crown" got me thinking if the way things happen on the show is how they happen in real life (and it got me doing tons of Google searches!).
This year, like many people, I watched the interview of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry by Oprah, which has had everybody buzzing and speculating about the inner workings of the Monarchy and the Royal Family. I'm sure many people who have watched "The Crown" had it at the back of their minds when watching the interview (I know I did... and so did Oprah! Sorry, Your Majesty).
Current events are drawing more and more attention to the history of the monarchy and the Royal Family.
"The Crown" is a fictional take on historical events. However, it draws a picture of the history and dynamics of an age-old institution. The show touches on the (very real) struggles of a family split between personal life and duty. It also highlights the political side of the monarchy, and the huge role of the media in the construction of the monarchy we know today.
Entertainment-wise, there are so many things to love about this show! I love how, even though it's a drama series, it tries not to paint the characters in shades of grey. The casting for the young and aging royals is unbelievable! The photography is amazing, and so are the dialogues and the acting (no wonder it won several TV awards). So, if you haven't watched it, I would fully recommend it!
For me, the two most important things to look for when I wanted to find my next watch after "The Crown" were: 1) entertainment quality and 2) historical accuracy. So, I found, three things worth watching that are the perfect compliment to illustrate the events that happen on "The Crown".
If, like me, you loved watching "The Crown", here are 3 great historical pieces you will like:
The Royal House of Windsor (2017)
This documentary-series might not be as exciting as a movie or drama series (only one episode was enough to leave fill my head with royal facts for days). Still, historical research gives it a special touch, and many events seen on the early seasons of "The Crown" are explored in more depth.
The series was released for the 100-year mark of the Windsor Family on the throne. Honestly, though it may be slightly biased towards the Royal Family, it's a great addition if you want to get a wider perspective about the historical events on "The Crown".
The pace is much slower, and the story is told by different sources. The makers take letters and documents borrowed from the Royal Archives to connect historical events. My favorite part are all the original videos and photos of the Royal Family, which are usually not so easy to find.
The episodes go from the reign of Charles V (grandfather of Queen Elizabeth) to the tragic death of Princess Diana (which could've been better presented, in my opinion). Each episode has a theme, along with historians and sources that tell the story with a bit of dramatic flair. Like "The Crown", the docuseries mainly showcases the struggles of the monarchy to adapt to a changing world.
So, if you liked "The Crown", but are also interested on the historical facts behind it, I really recommend watching this documentary-series!
Historical accuracy: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
- Queen Elizabeth II (from a famous speech for the Commonwealth): [voiceover] I declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service and to the service of our great imperial family, to which we all belong".
Where to find it: Netflix
The King's Speech (2010)
Now, we go into the big screen! This film dramatizes the journey of King George VI, the father of the actual Queen Elizabeth II, into the throne after the abdication of his older brother. It focuses especially on the challenge that Prince Albert (Bertie) had to face: overcoming his stutter while dealing with the weight of the Crown during the times of World War II.
If you liked "The Crown", this movie is a perfect supplement, because it gives more context about the "burden" that Queen Elizabeth's father had to carry when he unexpectedly became King. Showing the toll it took on him. That's a topic constantly discussed by the family throughout "The Crown", but we don't get to see it develop.
On top of being entertaining and having a historical perspective, this movie has a cast of outstanding actors. My favorite parts are the emotional scenes, combined with the humor and charm of Colin Firth (who won the Oscar to Best Actor for the movie) and Geoffrey Rush (a.k.a. Captain Barbosa from Pirates of the Caribbean). Other incredible talents include Helena-Bonham Carter (who was also on "The Crown" as "older" Margaret) and Michael Gambon (a.k.a Albus Dumbledore from Harry Potter), among many others.
In terms of movie awards the movie won several, including the Oscar to Best Motion Picture. From beginning to end, this is a YES for me!
Historical accuracy: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
-Lionel Logue (after the speech): You still stammered on the 'W'.
-King George VI: Well, I had to throw in a few so they knew it was me.
Where to find it: Prime Video, Apple TV
The Young Victoria (2009)
This movie is not connected to the events seen on "The Crown", but it touches on an important issue that female British monarchs have had to face. I like that the movie explores the struggles inside the marriage of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert (mostly due to conservative ideas about the role of men and women). That’s a topic which is constantly reflected on "The Crown", with the relationship between Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip in their early years.
The film also dramatizes the political side of the monarchy and the many personal interests surrounding the Royal Family for centuries. It alsoo, explores the Germanic background to the Royal Family, which is also an ongoing topic on "The Crown".
Historically, the marriage of Victoria and Albert has been one of the most influential for monarchies all around Europe (seriously, if you follow royal history around the world, pretty much everyone is a great-grandsomething of Queen Victoria!). So, watching this movie can be a nice piece of historical background (although some facts are not too accurate).
Finally, for the hopeless romantics, the main plot of the movie is the courtship and love between Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. With the beautiful Emily Blunt as Victoria, and Rupert Friend as dashing Prince Albert (and some incredible costumes), the movie truly takes you into the old Victorian Era.
When you're in the mood for some romance and history, I recommend diving deep into this charming period movie. Enjoy!
Historical accuracy: ⭐⭐⭐
- Princess Victoria: [voiceover] Some people are born more fortunate than others. Such was the case with me. But as a child I was convinced of quite the opposite. What little girl does not dream of growing up as a princess? But some palaces are not at all what you would think [...]
Where to find it: Netflix, Prime Video, Apple TV
If You're Searching for More:
There are a few, less-known movies and series about the Royals out there (which I haven't watched yet). Below is a list with the titles by type. Please, let me know if they're any good!
- Documentaries and docuseries: Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance (2018), The Story of Diana (2017)
- Movies: The Queen (2006), Diana (2013), Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance (2018), William & Catherine: A Royal Romance (2011), The Iron Lady (2020)
- Series: The Windsors (2020), Secrets of Great British Castles (2016)
A Final Note:
While I think few movies or shows will match up to the "The Crown", I hope these recommendations make your royal experience more complete and entertaining!
I hope you enjoyed this article! If you did, please click on ♥️, or share on social media! Tips are greatly appreciated and every bit of support means a lot to me as a writer.