They turned the monarchy on its head by talking about everything from Markle’s misleading friendship with Kate Middleton to her mental health difficulties while working as a royal overseas in a broadcast interview with a shell-shocked Oprah Winfrey. A royal biopic is an excellent way to learn more about the institution the couple left behind, its power structure and the difficulties of life as an important actor in a monarchy. You’ll be entertained and educated at the same time as you enjoy the lavish costumes and sets. As much as these fictitious works have strayed from reality in certain respects (the Queen from 2006 is more historically accurate than, say, The Princess Diaries), each of the films on our list has something to say about the demands of the throne to take from it. Here are 20 titles to keep an eye out for if you want a peek behind the curtain of the monarchy.
1. The King’s Speech
The King’s Speech was a critical and commercial triumph upon its debut in 2010, when it was nominated for 12 Academy Awards and won four of them, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Colin Firth’s moving performance as King George IV. As he prepares to deliver a national speech announcing war on Nazi Germany, the monarch worked with a speech and language pathologist to overcome his impediment, which was impenetrable. The film, starring Helena Bonham Carter as Queen Elizabeth, provides a fascinating insight at the ruler’s private fights during one of history’s most pivotal moments.
2. Grace of Monaco
Grace Kelly (Nicole Kidman) tells Father Francis Tucker (Frank Langella) at the height of her sorrow, “I don’t know how I’m going to spend the rest of my life in this place where I can’t be me.” In order to marry Prince Rainier III, the American movie star gave up her profession and her life in the United States to become Princess Grace of Monaco, wife of Prince Rainier III. Her new husband is cold and distant, and she misses the things she used to have back home. Everything she says and does appears to be incorrect. Kelly’s real-world acquaintances have hinted at her initial dissatisfaction with her new life, though it’s not certain if this conversation ever took place. I am sure there were times when she felt like she was in a gilded cage within the palace walls,” said Joan Dale, Kelly’s closest friend,in an excerpt from her book My Days With Princess Grace of Monaco. While Alfred Hitchcock, the film director for whom she was a muse, tried to lure her back to the United States to create more films, Kelly stayed in Monaco with her husband amid the country’s international conflict with France. Also, Princess Grace made an effort to acquire the language and culture of her new country, assuring her long-term residence there.
In the 2013 romantic movie Diana, Naomi Watts starred as England’s Rose, a role that she has become rather familiar with. Set in the years following Diana’s divorce from Prince Charles, the film depicts the tremendous public scrutiny the former royal experienced as she attempted to move on from life inside the palace walls with heart surgeon Hasnat Khan. It ends in catastrophe, with a deadly vehicle accident that would leave England and the rest of the globe in mourning.
4. Mary Queen of Scots
This film, directed by Josie Rourke and starring Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie as rival queens Mary of Scots (Saoirse Ronan) and Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie), is based on a true story. The two cousins’ passionate face-to-face arguments, for example, never actually happened in the movie. Mary Tudor, who became queen at the tender age of six days, was murdered by Elizabeth I in 1587 after she was implicated in a conspiracy to kill the English Queen.
5. The Queen
It’s impossible to talk about royal films without mentioning Helen Mirren’s Academy Award-winning performance in 2006’sThe Queen. It is set in the days following Diana’s passing in 1997, and it examines the inner workings of the monarchy as its most senior members debate what role they should play in the public grieving of the deceased princess.. Having lost her formal title of Her Royal Highness following her divorce from Prince Charles a year earlier, Diana was no longer regarded as a member of the royal household. Since the monarch feels she owes the public little in terms of acknowledging her ex-daughter-in-passing, law’s she is opposed to holding a public funeral. However, despite the fact that portion of the film’s storyline was likely based in reality, the film’s story was still based on the real-life events. Amidst real-time news headlines like “Show Us You Care,” England’s longtime monarch chose to fly Buckingham Palace’s national flag at half-mast and deliver a nationally televised statement in homage to Princess Diana for the first time.
6. Marie Antoinette
Filmmaker Sofia Coppola’s trailer for her visually magnificent film, The Great Gatsby, looks more like an episode of Gossip Girl’s Halloween special than a period piece because of all the outrageous costumes, delectable treats, and extravagant parties. But don’t be deceived; this is merely a ruse. As Antonia Frazer recounts in her biography of the late Queen of France, it also reminds viewers of the early age at which she assumed the kingdom at the age of 19, as well as of the constant scrutiny that accompanied her position. When asked about the film by star Kirsten Dunst, she replied, “It’s like a history of feelings, rather than a history of facts.” What will stick with audiences after the credits have rolled are the relatable sensations of doubt, rebellion, passion, fear, and remorse.
7. Harry and Meghan: Becoming Royal
Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance and Harry & Meghan: The Escape from the Palace are two of the three Lifetime films about the royal couple. However, in light of the real-life couple’s televised sit-down with Oprah, the second film, Harry & Meghan: Becoming Royal, takes on a whole new meaning. Aside from Harry’s unflinching support for his new bride, the film explores Meghan’s struggle to maintain a sense of self while dealing with the scrutiny she and Harry have endured as a married couple. In spite of the fact that it was published nearly two years ago, the interview’s specifics seem disturbingly similar to this piece.
8. The Duchess
For a long time before any of the current royal ladies of the house of Windsor became famous for their flings, Diana’s great-great-great-great-great aunt, Georgiana Spencer, made headlines for her marriage to William Cavendish, the Duke of Devonshire. Keira Knightley portrayed the character in 2008’s film Spencer, the Duchess of Devonshire, rose to power in the late 18th century, but her marriage was anything but idyllic. It was more likely that her loveless marriage would worsen under the weight of the expectations placed on her as a young English socialite to deliver a son.
9. The Prince & Me
Those looking for a lighthearted look at life as a royal should check out the 2004 rom-com “The Royals.”
The Prince and Me, a story about a fake Edvard of Denmark who goes to the United States to live as a student. Paige (Julia Stiles) introduces him to a whole new world of possibilities. Edvard and his new bride must still win over Edvard’s sceptical parents, King Harald and Queen Rosalind, before they may get married. Perhaps Prince Harry might identify with the emotional themes of wanting for a break from the responsibilities of public service and feeling “stuck” in the movie. This new paramour is told by Queen Rosalind that being a royal demands them to compromise who they are for who they must be.
10. The Favourite
“The Favourites,” starring Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz as the Duchess of Marlborough and Abigail Masham as her cousin, tells the story of a rising feud between the two women over Queen Anne’s favor in her court. The rivalry between the two women appears to have been serious, with both aiming to utilize their friendship with the queen to benefit their respective political parties: the Whigs and the Tories.
11. The Princess Switch
Stacy DeNovo (Vanessa Hudgens), a young baker with a striking resemblance to Duchess Lady Margaret Delacourt (also played by Hudgens), utilizes her uncanny similarities to the Duchess to exchange lives with Lady Margaret, allowing the latter to escape her privileged life and enjoy the finer things in life. So, in doing so, they alter their own futures and those of their love partners, one of whom happens to be the king of the land. It may be a silly Christmas movie, but Margaret’s plight to get away from the spotlight shows through the underlying subject of entrapment.
She’s known as “the only English queen to never marry,” yet before her reign, Queen Elizabeth I reigned supreme. However, it was Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Elizabeth in 1998’s Elizabeth, which would go on to win critical acclaim, that would cement her place as cinema’s leading woman. In spite of her efforts to establish Protestantism during her reign and to promote the arts, many of Elizabeth’s followers saw her as a failure to wed and give birth to a royal heir. Ultimately, her competitor, Queen Mary of Scots, gave birth to James IV of Scotland, the next English king. Blanchett, on the other hand, was able to reclaim some of Elizabeth’s power by proclaiming herself a bride of England and rule as “the virgin queen.”
13. The Young Victoria
Over the course of her 63-year reign, Queen Victoria displayed a remarkable lack of sentimentality. Is this an example? For centuries, it had been considered taboo for anyone to ask for the hand of a reigning monarch, so she took matters into her own hands and asked Prince Albert for his hand in marriage. Emily Blunt plays the title character, a fiercely independent yet occasionally protected young woman who will succeed William IV as King of England at the age of 18 in the 2009 film The Young Victoria. “Victoria lives in a hermetically sealed universe,” wrote Roger Ebert at the time. It’s impossible for her to meet anyone who hasn’t been vetted by the palace system, and she has no true independence.” Even so, she made the most of her time in power, and her reign is today remembered as the pinnacle of the country’s expansionist era.
14. The King
The King on Netflix has a reoccurring theme: Even if you’re a king, it’s important to be wary about who you put your faith in. Timothée Chalamet stars in this Netflix production of Shakespeare’s dramatized depiction of King Henry V’s leadership, which finds him reluctantly pushed into the closing phases of the Hundred Years’ War at the behest of his courtiers. A legendary medieval English warrior king, Henry plays his part reluctantly in the film—a departure from his real-life manner, which was more outgoing. The historical Henry V was said to have believed that he was “divinely ordained to carry out God’s great task,” which he believed could only be accomplished by the use of armed force.
15. The Girl King
At the age of six, Queen Christina, whose given name was Kristina Augusta, succeeded her father, Gustavus Adolphus, as ruler of Sweden. Queen Christina surprised her people by following in the footsteps of England’s “virgin queen” Elizabeth I by declining to marry a suitor. Greta Garbo once portrayed her journey in the 1933 film Queen Christina, and in 2015, the film The Girl King replicated it on the big screen. This adaption focuses more on her sexual relationships with her best friend, Ebba Sparre, as well as her non-conformist relationship with gender. It also tells the story of how Queen Christina of Sweden became Catholic and abdicated her kingdom to her cousin Charles Gustav in 1654.
16. Coming to America
At his best, Eddie Murphy plays fictional Zamunda prince Akeem Joffer as he searches for a woman who will “arouse [his] mind and [his] loins” in this hilarious comedy. He and his best friend Semmi (Arsenio Hall) travel to the United States in search of this woman, working at a fast food restaurant in Queens, NY while doing so. Even though this story is completely made up, its full-throated endorsement of marrying because of love is one that we (and, we assume, Harry and Meghan) can support.
17. The Princess Diaries
This list would be incomplete without a viewing of The Princess Diaries. The inclusion of a Disney classic isn’t anything to be sniffed at. In spite of the fact that Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway in her breakout role) is a complete fabrication, a brief review of this early aughts picture reveals that the teen’s responsibilities as an heir to the mythical country of Genovia ring quite true in terms of royalty. She needs to do more than simply wear a crown and shine the brightness of her soul. Queen Clarisse of Genovia (Julie Andrews) tries to nurture her granddaughter into a better person. Queen Clarisse decrees that “princesses never cross their legs in public,” thus Mia is forced to make a choice between her old life and her new imperial obligations. (Does this ring a bell?
18. The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement
The sequel to Princess Diaries is a good idea if you’re already viewing the original. Princess Mia returns to Genovia after graduation to discover that an archaic rule compels her to marry before she can ascend to the throne—and another Genovian is conspiring to usurp the reign. In contrast to other current royal families, the British royal family merely changed the line of succession in order to keep Princess Charlotte ahead of her younger brother, Louis. The movie is lighthearted and rom-com-esque, with Prince William even being mentioned as a potential suitor. I’m not going to give anything away, but Mia and Harry have a happy ending, too.
19. The Other Boleyn Girl
This movie, starring Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, and Eric Bana, rivals the Showtime series The Tudors as the most sensual depiction of King Henry XIII’s love triangle. One of the few things of this picture that may be factually genuine is Hank’s propensity to sleep around (he had six wives and numerous mistresses). Anne Boleyn, Henry’s second wife, and her sister Mary are the focus of this film, which is based on Philippa Gregory’s novel of the same name. This love triangle was riddled with deceit, retribution, and ultimately beheading, despite several important plot points being disputed by historians (such as whether or not Mary’s son was Henry’s, and all that incestuous stuff).
20. Shakespeare in Love
It’s not exactly about Shakespeare and how he came to create his masterpieceRomeo and Juliet, but Dame Judi Dench plays Queen Elizabeth I in this film. Everyone wants to know if Juliet is being played by a guy or a woman (now that’s forbidden!). Gwyneth Paltrow’s Viola de Lesseps (Viola de Lesseps) pretends to be a male so that she can perform in the film. Because she “knows something of a woman working in a man’s trade,” Elizabeth allows the play to go on. Queen Elizabeth II was only the second monarch to be a woman.