Many television episodes and movies are based on real-life occurrences, which is why so many of these shows and movies are popular. As an example, think about England. No one can say that they’ve never been fascinated by the history of a monarch or queen in their country, can they? Surely you can’t say that. There is nothing more fascinating than learning about the reigns of Queen Elizabeth I, King Henry VIII, and the rest of the British royal family. Fortunately, Hollywood agrees, and movies and TV shows based on stories about English royalty have been produced for decades now, with more being released each year. However, which are the best ones?
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1. The Crown
For a list like this, it’s a given that this item will be included. Based on the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her coronation through her final years, The Crown is a Netflix series created by Peter Morgan. In the first two seasons of the series, Claire Foy plays Queen Elizabeth and Matt Smith plays Prince Philip, but the cast is completely replaced. This season focuses on the time period from 1947 until 1964, when Prince Edward is born. ” During Seasons 3 and 4, Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies portray Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, telling their story from the late 1960s to the early ’90s and introducing other important figures in English history, such as Margaret Thatcher (Gillian Anderson) and Lady Diana Spencer (Jodie Whittaker), respectively (Emma Corrin). We’ll see Imelda Staunton and Jonathan Pryce as Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip for the next two seasons of The Crown before it wraps up its run. As with every film or show on our list, there are apparent creative liberties taken, but The Crown is renowned for its attention to detail and superb performances, and it’s a certified must-watch show.
2. The Madness of King George
When King George III was in his later years, many historians believe he was suffering from mental illness, as depicted in the biographical dramedy The Madness of King George, released in 1994. Director Nicholas Hytner and playwright Alan Bennett collaborated on the film, which is based on Bennett’s play The Madness of George III. Regency Crisis of 1788, which was caused by King George III’s alleged mental instability and the power-hungry persons he was surrounded by, is shown in this video with wit and humor. However, this period of King George III’s reign, which is typically overlooked compared to, say, the American Revolutionary period, has a lot to offer. Queen Charlotte is played by Helen Mirren, while King George III is played by Nigel Hawthorne, with a cast that includes Ian Holm, Rupert Graves, and Jim Carter rounding out the impressive cast.
3. The White Queen, The White Princess, and The Spanish Princess
Philippa Gregory is the author of the historical novels that inspired The White Queen and its two spinoffs. There is a first series, The White Queen, which is about Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), who was Queen of England in the 1400s with King Edward IV (Max Irons), and was meant to be a one-and-done. Following the success of The White Princess, which stars Emmy winner Jodie Comer as Elizabeth of York, the daughter of Queen Elizabeth and King Edward IV, the War of the Roses comes to an end just in time for her marriage to King Henry VII, played by Jacob Collins-Levy, who plays the king’s brother. “The Spanish Princess,” starring Charlotte Hope as Catherine of Aragon during her reign as the first wife of King Henry VIII (Ruairi O’Connor), is the most recent entry to this franchise. Despite its name, the show concentrates on Catherine’s connection with Henry VIII and the English crown prior to their marriage.
4. The King’s Speech
One of the most talked-about movies of the year, The King’s Speech, tells the story of King George VI’s (Colin Firth) connection with his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, who won Best Picture at the Academy Awards in 2010. (Geoffrey Rush). The plot follows King George VI (Guy Pearce) as he strives to overcome his stammer and prepare for the difficult days ahead as the ruler of England just before his brother, King Edward VIII, abdicates the throne in 1936. Helena Bonham Carter, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle and Michael Gambon — virtually the who’s who of British performers — star in The King’s Speech, a fantastic drama picture.
5. The Royal House of Windsor
While we’re all for a good yarn about the English royal family, there are times when you just want the facts. The 2017 six-episode docuseries The Royal House of Windsor is an excellent pick if you’re looking for a good documentary about the subject. It begins in 1917 with the establishment of House Windsor by King George V, which reveals hitherto unseen elements of the royal family on television. Given that it’s all a part of House Windsor’s tale and you probably already know some of the details, you may expect to learn about some familiar aspects of British history. If you’re a fan of British history, you’ll love The Royal House of Windsor, a straightforward documentary series.
6. Wolf Hall
Claire Foy has previously played an English royal, but in Wolf Hall, she’ll be playing Anne Boleyn opposite Damian Lewis, who will be playing King Henry VIII. In all fairness, though, the story of King Henry VIII and his infamous reign during which he had six wives is well remembered for a reason: it’s a dramatic and unforgettable chapter in royal history. It’s also interesting in that it primarily focuses on Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance, a manipulative, charismatic man who utilizes his close friendship with King Henry VIII to obtain more authority for himself through his manipulation. Cromwell takes a dangerous gambit in an attempt to remove King Henry VIII from Anne’s clutches, hoping that it will backfire (spoiler alert: it does not).
7. The Favourite
The Favourite, starring Olivia Colman as Queen Anne in the early 1700s, is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, a celebrated and completely creative filmmaker. Rachel Weisz as Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough, and Emma Stone as Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Masham, star alongside Colman in the film, which tells the story of a “favourite,” or someone who is close to a high-ranking person. There are a variety of ways in which these connections have evolved over time, some of which have been supportive and others of which have been sexual or otherwise inappropriate. While The Favourite focuses on the complicated relationship between Abigail and Sarah and Anne in the court of King Louis XIII, the film also explores the wacky and heartfelt interactions between these three characters.
8. The Queen
Additionally, Helen Mirren plays Queen Elizabeth II and the royal family following Diana’s terrible death in 1997 in The Queen. If you haven’t noticed now, there are a lot of repeated names on this list. When Diana died in 1997, the more conventional royal family decided not to make her death an official royal death, which would have led to public acknowledgment and grief. Prince Charles (Alex Jennings), the ex-husband of the late Princess Diana, and the Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) prefer to acknowledge the nation’s love for Diana and mourn her death together (Alex Jennings). Slowly, the Queen starts to appreciate how much her country has progressed and modernized under her watch, and how much the people adore Diana. At the time of its debut, The Queen was met with critical acclaim and won several honors for Helen Mirren, who played the title role alongside James Cromwell, Roger Allam, and Helen McCrory. The Queen bravely tackles one of the most painful subjects in English history, demonstrating how the death of Princess Diana impacted not only England and the royal family, but also the modernization of the monarchy as a whole.
As of the start of Season 1, Jenna Coleman plays Queen Victoria, who was just 18 years old when she took the throne in 1837, in Daisy Goodwin’s new television series about her life. A total of three seasons (so far) have been aired, with Season 1 depicting her childhood and marriage to Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), while Season 2 focuses on her time as a wife, mother, and queen while dealing with the famine in Ireland, as well as tensions between England and other European countries. There haven’t been a lot of movies or television shows about Queen Victoria’s period as a new queen and how she handled being the youngest ruler, but Victoria does a great job of doing this properly.
Queen Elizabeth I of England, who reigned from 1558 to her death in 1603 in the 1998 film Elizabeth, was directed by Shekhar Kapur and written by Michael Hirst. It is Cate Blanchett who takes on the role of Queen Victoria, one of England’s most powerful monarchs in history. Film shows the rise of Queen Elizabeth I to the throne of England following the death of her half-sister, Queen Mary I. When Queen Elizabeth I ascends to the throne, England is in a precarious position. Queen Mary I had persecuted Protestants across the country, there was mounting debt, and Europe was becoming an increasingly heated battlefield. In Elizabeth, Cate Blanchett gives a stunning portrayal as Queen Elizabeth I, demonstrating her strength and wit on the battlefield as well as in her own court. Both Geoffrey Rush, who plays the queen’s leading advisor and spymaster, and Joseph Fiennes, who plays Robert Dudley, are cast in the film. Elizabeth: The Golden Age, the 2007 follow-up film starring many of the original cast members, included many of the same actors.
11. Anne of the Thousand Days
Anne of the Thousand Days, a 1969 film starring Geneviève Bujold as Anne Boleyn and Richard Burton as Henry VIII, is one of the list’s oldest entries. Adaptation of Maxwell Anderson’s play of the same name, which tells the story of a young Anne and the King’s fascination with her and his attempts to woo her using his position and influence. Despite the fact that she doesn’t actually want Henry VIII’s affections, Anne appreciates the power and privilege that come with being in his good graces. As a result, Henry’s efforts to divorce Catherine of Aragon and marry Anne, which finally takes her down a dark (and deadly) road are sparked by her declaration. While Anne of the Thousand Days received a mixed reception when it was released, the film was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, and Bujold’s performance in her debut English-language picture was widely praised. An excellent pick for those who enjoy the old-fashioned drama of 1960s films is “Anne of the Thousand Days.”
12. Shakespeare In Love
During the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, William Shakespeare, in case you were unaware, played an important role. As much as Shakespeare in Love is fiction, Judi Dench’s portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I is superb, on par with Cate Blanchett and others who have played the role. Actress Gwyneth Paltrow plays a woman from an affluent family who aspires to be an actress and falls in love with Shakespeare’s character, played by Joseph Fiennes. The film imagines that Shakespeare’s works are inspired by Viola’s relationship and specific interactions with him, with the Queen as a key actor in the overall scheme. Viola is unable to perform on stage unless she is disguised as a man due to the time period’s restriction on female actors. An important narrative point has Queen Elizabeth I uncovering Viola’s true identity and helping to keep her hidden from the individuals plotting her downfall. Check out Shakespeare in Love if you’d want to see a movie with a lot of love and references to both history and Shakespeare’s works.
13. Henry V
Kenneth Branagh, a British actor and director, has been a Shakespeare enthusiast for decades. The actor and director have collaborated on several Shakespeare adaptations, including 1996’s Hamlet, 1993’s Much Ado About Nothing, and 1989’s Henry V, which is both his earliest and maybe best-known. There is no doubt that Shakespeare composed a large number of historical plays about the successive English rulers, even though his work often includes fantasy and humorous aspects. During the reign of Henry V, a prominent figure in the Hundred Years’ War, the drama tells the story of how he brought dignity to England as a major military power and nearly reunited England and France. Branagh is the obvious choice for the lead part, but the cast also includes Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd, James Larkin, and Emma Thompson. When it comes to film adaptations of Shakespeare’s plays, many consider Henry V to be one of the best.
14. Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy
Diary of the Princess of Wales: Diana’s Life and Legacy was released in 2017 by the Princes William and Harry, as well as a large number of Diana’s closest confidants and family members. Aside from her role as a mother to Princes William and Harry, Diana’s work with significant causes including the homeless and the AIDS crisis is also highlighted in the film. Those who are interested in the history of the royal family, and in particular, why Diana was so liked by the English people, might view Diana: Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy.