Royal readers, every once in a while circumstances dictate we switch from reading our favorite books to watching royal stories unfold on our TV screens. While no media ever will compare to books for me, I admit that I’ve found an excellent secondary pleasure of royal drama in the form of some of my favorite TV shows and movies. If you’re looking for a royal fix but don’t have the time or inclination to pick up a book, I suggest watching one of the shows or movies described below. You’ll be dropped into some of the greatest royal history known to man and feel like you too are a part of the court of some of the most well-known monarchs. Cheers!
Starring: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Natalie Dormer, Henry Cavill, Sam Neill, and Jeremy Northam
Jonathan Rhys Meyers is King Henry VIII as you’ve never seen him before. The epic series reveals the scandalous life of a young king whose affairs and obsession with producing a male heir changed marriage, the church, and the world forever.
Mary, Queen of Scots
Starring: Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie
Queen of France at 16 and widowed at 18, Mary Stuart defies pressure to remarry. Instead, she returns to her native Scotland to reclaim her rightful throne. But Scotland and England fall under the rule of the compelling Elizabeth I. Each young Queen beholds her sister in fear and fascination. Rivals in power and in love, and female regents in a masculine world, the two must decide how to play the game of marriage versus independence.
Starring: Olivia Coleman, Claire Foy, Matt Smith, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, etc.
Inspired by real events, this fictional dramatization tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II and the political and personal events that shaped her reign.
The White Queen, The White Princess, and The Spanish Queen
Starring: Jodie Comer, Rebecca Ferguson, Max Irons, James Frain, and more
Adapted from some of Phillipa Gregory’s bestselling Tudor novels, these three series tell the tale of the Lancaster and York families as they battle for throne, marry for love and advantage, and scheme to become the most powerful leaders of England.
The Young Victoria
Starring: Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend
As the only legitimate heir of England’s King William, teenage Victoria gets caught up in the political machinations of her own family. Victoria’s mother wants her to sign a regency order, while her Belgian uncle schemes to arrange a marriage between the future monarch and Prince Albert, the man who will become the love of her life.
Victoria and Abdul
Starring: Dame Judi Dench and Ali Fazal
Queen Victoria forges an unlikely and devoted friendship with Abdul Karim, a young clerk from India.
The King’s Speech
Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, and Helena Bonham Carter
The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer.
Starring: Helen Mirren and Michael Sheen
Following the death of Princess Diana in an auto accident, Great Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II and Prime Minister Tony Blair struggle to reach a compromise in how the royal family should publicly respond to the tragedy. In the balance is the family’s need for privacy and the public’s demand for an outward show of mourning.
The Other Boelyn Girl
Starring: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johannsen, and Eric Bana
Based upon Phillipa Gregory’s bestselling novel, this is the story of British sisters Anne and Mary Boleyn competing for the affections of King Henry VIII.
Starring: Jenna Coleman and Tom Hughes
The series follows Victoria’s early life, including her relationship with her husband Albert and her political responsibilities of the 1830s to the 1850s.
Starring: Kristen Stewart
During the 1991 Christmas holiday, Princess Diana decides to leave Prince Charles.
A Royal Night Out
Starring: Sarah Gadon and Bel Powley
As Europe celebrates V-E Day in 1945, teenage princesses Elizabeth and Margaret spend a wild evening in London.