With only a few days away from the premiere of The Crown season 4, here are some of the essential films and documentaries you can watch to prepare for the latest season.
If you couldn’t get enough of Netflix’s The Crown, you’re likely to keep finding more royal shows to watch. To help you satisfy your obsession, we have rounded up a short list of lush movies, and documentaries about the British monarchy—from exclusive interviews, never-before-seen footage, and award-winning film portrayals.
Diana: In Her Own Words (2017)
Get intimate with the story of the late Princess Diana in this collection of interview recordings of the princess herself. Biographer and journalist Andre Morton brought together these files into a nostalgic documentary where Diana discloses the truth about her childhood, failed marriage with Prince Charles, and personal life matters.
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
If Justin Chadwick’s film was taken in a less subdued approach, it would have been a present-day double of Gossip Girl. The Other Boleyn Girl’s dramatic dialogue, thrilling political undertones, and shocking scenes make for a satisfying medieval royal drama. Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson play the roles of Anne and Mary, respectively, sisters competing to acquire the heart of King Henry VIII. Although the latter initially took a liking to Mary, the more ambitious sister Anne was prepared to raise heaven and hell to win the King—without knowing the terrible fate that awaited her.
Victoria and Abdul (2017)
With almost every evidence wiped out, no one would have known of Queen Victoria’s relationship with her young Indian attendant who turned out to be her closest confidante. This film explores how Abdul Karim, a representative from India for the Golden Jubilee of the Queen, charmed her and earned her favor. The monarch’s family was scandalized by their closeness that upon Queen Victoria’s death, they were eager to wipe out Abdul’s existence including burning letters and deporting him back to India. Expect to see the stellar performance of Judi Dench as Queen Victoria in this intriguing film.
Prince Philip: The Plot to Make a King (2016)
As the title suggests, the documentary sheds light on how Prince Philip came to marry Queen Elizabeth II albeit he was initially a Greek-Germanic sailor and surprisingly, had Nazi affiliations. Lord Mountbatten was the intelligent man who conspired for his nephew to marry into the British royal family. With strong supporting evidence from witnesses and archives, this story is both ambiguous and highly fascinating.
Elizabeth (1998) and Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
With an Oscar-winning performance from Cate Blanchett, these films are a must-watch. These tell the story of Queen Elizabeth I from her early years as a stubborn yet intelligent girl to a regal, wise, and courageous Virgin Queen. The sequel covers the war with Spain where she came out victorious and prospered over England. Of course, there are the sumptuous costumes—the outrageous ruffle collars and the full armor suit, a nod to Joan of Arc. Together with thrilling drama and action, both films are incredible period pieces.
The Royal House of Windsor (2017)
History enthusiasts, this documentary is your access to the rare footage and interviews of the British royal family. From King George V to the events of World War II to the present-day monarchy, this series chronicles all that you need to know and understand in political rivalries and royal drama.