This article was originally published on Future Female Leaders
Why is the world so fascinated by the British royal family? When a new royal baby is announced, the world waits with baited breath and places bets on its potential name. On the day of a Royal Wedding, traffic come to a standstill and classes get cancelled. The Crown dominated Netflix’s ratings for months. Now that the world is celebrating Prince Harry’s wedding to Meghan Markle, there is a lot of talk about the history of the Windsor royal family, and every time I dive into a new book or documentary on them I discover some new fact or previously hidden scandal. If you’re anything like me, you’re fascinated by the entire concept of a royal family. To satisfy that curiosity, check out these books and films about the House Windsor. The US may never have a Royal Family of our own, but the British Royal family has enough scandal, political turmoil, and intrigue for all of us.
The Crown is a beautifully fictionalized Netflix original series following the early years of Elizabeth II’s life, including and leading up to her ascension to the throne. It stars Claire Foy and Matt Smith.
Do you love a good scandal? Interested in how the modern Royal Family interacts with the media and the rest of the world? This is the documentary for you. Interviews with experts on the British Royal family will cue you in on all the secrets they don’t want you to know.
Prince Philip: The Plot to Make a King
If you love a good royal conspiracy theory, you’ll love this documentary that explores the tensions in the royal family to handle Prince Philip’s German roots in a time when Germans were not held in high regard following World War II.
Starring Helen Mirren as Elizabeth II, The Queen follows the monarch in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death in the 1990s at a time in which the world was watching.
The Royal House of Windsor
This documentary series follows the House of Windsor from its early years with George V through modern Elizabeth II, scandals and all. This is a great documentary series for people interested in the history of the Royal Family and how it has changed through the years.
Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute
If you’re a royal family purist and prefer to hear it straight from them, check out this documentary collaboration of royal family members celebrating their matriarch and showcasing previously unseen home movies that will make you feel like you’re at home with them in the palace.
The Crown, The Official Companion Volume I The official companion to the Emmy-winning Netflix drama chronicling the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, and starring Claire Foy and John Lithgow, The Crown by Peter Morgan, featuring additional historical background and beautifully reproduced archival photos and show stills.
Diana: Her True Story in Her Own Words by Andrew MortonThe sensational biography of Princess Diana, written with her cooperation and now featuring exclusive new material to commemorate the 20th anniversary of her death. When Diana: Her True Story was first published in 1992, it forever changed the way the public viewed the British monarchy. Greeted initially with disbelief and ridicule, the #1 New York Times bestselling biography has become a unique literary classic, not just because of its explosive contents but also because of Diana’s intimate involvement in the publication. Never before had a senior royal spoken in such a raw, unfiltered way about her unhappy marriage, her relationship with the Queen, her extraordinary life inside the House of Windsor, her hopes, her fears, and her dreams.
The Royals by Kitty Kelly They are the most chronicled family on the face of the globe. Their every move attracts headlines. Now Kitty Kelley has gone behind the scenes at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle and Kensington Palace to raise the curtain on the men and women who make up the British royal family. Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Princess Diana…here are the scandals of the last decades: the doomed marriages and the husbands, wives, lovers and children caught in their wake and damaged beyond repair. No one is spared.
Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch by Sally Bedell Smith In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. The young Queen is struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines—the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.
Prince William: The Man Who Will Be King by Penny Junor
His face is recognized the world over, his story is well known. But what is Prince William really like? As Diana’s eldest son, he was her confidant. While the tabloids eagerly lapped up the lurid details of his parents’ divorce, William lived painfully through it, suffering the embarrassment, the humiliation, and divided loyalties. He watched his father denounced on prime time television; he met the lovers. And when he was just fifteen, his beautiful, loving mother was suddenly, shocking snatched from his life forever. The nation lost its princess and its grief threatened the very future of the monarchy. What was almost forgotten in the clamor was that two small boys had lost their mother. His childhood was a recipe for disaster, yet as he approaches his thirtieth birthday, William is as well-balanced and sane a man as you could ever hope to meet. He has an utter determination to do the right thing and to serve his country as his grandmother has so successfully done for the last sixty years. Who stopped him from going off the rails, turning his back on his duty and wanting nothing to do with the press—the people he blamed for his mother’s death? Where did the qualities that have so entranced the world, and his new bride, Catherine, come from? In the last thirty years, Penny Junor has written extensively about his parents and the extended family into which he was born. With the trust built up over that time, she has been able to get closer to the answers than ever before.
The Book of Royal Useless Information by Noel Botham and Bruce Montague Did you know that the Queen learned to drive in 1945 when she joined the wartime army but has never held a driving license? Or that Queen Mary refused to acknowledge the existence of the telephone? Bestselling authors Noel Botham and Bruce Montague irreverently present everything you never needed but always wanted to know about all things royal. So raise the Union Jack, feed the corgis, make yourself a nice cup of tea, and enjoy this truly mind-boggling collection of totally useless information.
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