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Top 10 Films and TV Shows Based on the Royal Family

VO: Richard Bush
Hold on to your crowns, and grab the corgis. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 movies and TV shows about the Royals. For this list, we’ve picked the best and most memorable films and TV programmes, based on the British Royal Family. Special thanks to our user RichardFB for submitting the idea on our interactive suggestion tool: WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Top 10 Films and TV Shows Based on the Royal Family


Hold on to your crowns, and grab the corgis. Welcome to WatchMojo UK and today we’ll be counting down our picks for the top 10 movies and TV shows about the Royals.

For this list, we’ve picked the best and most memorable films and TV programmes, based on the British Royal Family.

#10: “Victoria & Abdul” (2017)

A comedy-drama about Queen Victoria and Abdul Karim, this movie centres on the true story of the long-reigning ruler’s friendship with her royal servant. A somewhat surprising critical and commercial hit, it also presented Judi Dench with a role she was already used to - after her previous portrayal of Victoria, in the 1997 film “Mrs Brown”. “Victoria & Abdul” earned two Oscar nods - for makeup and costume design - and some critics even tipped Dench for a Best Actress nomination, although that didn’t materialise.

#9: “The Other Boleyn Girl” (2008)

While this movie is very definitely set in England, its cast is crammed with Hollywood stars. Eric Bana plays the ever-unpredictable Henry VIII; Natalie Portman stars as his ill-fated second wife, Anne Boleyn; and Scarlett Johansson steps out in the titular role, as Anne’s sister, Mary. The story itself has been criticised for being heavily fictionalised, especially regarding Mary’s role. But, as a standalone cinematic experience, this period drama delivers twists, turns and another stark reminder that this king was not to be messed with.

#8: “The White Queen” (2013)

Based on the popular book series by renowned writer on the Royals, Philippa Gregory, this show doubled up on drama - unfolding as the War of the Roses rages on. Following one woman’s fight for the throne, Rebecca Ferguson plays the title character, Elizabeth Woodville, who must stake her claim in a world of growing uncertainty and shifting politics. And Woodville puts up one hell of a battle, despite all the love, loss and heartbreak that’s thrown her way.

#7: “The Tudors” (2007-10)

An underrated gem from the archives of British telly, this show - as you’d probably expect - centres on the Tudor period. And mostly on Henry VIII, and his relationship with his six wives. Natalie Dormer steals swathes of limelight as Anne Boleyn, and much of the series focuses on the couple’s cat-and-mouse style of courting. But we all know how that romance ended. Other stand-out performances include Jonathan Rhys Meyers as Henry, Henry Cavill as Charles Brandon and Tamzin Merchant as Catherine Howard. It’s a Royal Court of wonder.

#6: “Elizabeth” (1998)

This film really did strike a chord with the critics, earning Cate Blanchett a Best Actress Oscar nomination - for her role as Elizabeth I - and the movie itself was a contender for Best Picture. Focussing on the tough and testing times that Elizabeth faced while getting to grips with her role as monarch, her task is also plighted by political and social pressures - not least because she’s an unmarried woman. There’s conflict and fighting before anyone has even left the palace grounds, leaving Blanchett with plenty of material to draw from, when she reprised the role in 2007 for “Elizabeth: The Golden Age”.

#5: “Wolf Hall” (2015)

Another royal drama from the BBC, “Wolf Hall” was adapted from books by Hilary Mantel, and the action also focuses on the reign of Henry VIII. But, Mark Rylance takes centre stage here, as Henry’s influential advisor, Thomas Cromwell - who rises through the ranks as a Royal right-hand man. Taking in some of the UK’s most majestic and historic locations - from Penshurst Palace to Berkeley Castle - this six-part series also stars Damian Lewis as the King, and Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn. We’ll be seeing her again, shortly.

#4: “Victoria” (2016-)

Offering a career-making role for Jenna Coleman, ITV’s “Victoria” is well known for its critically acclaimed Christmas specials, as well as some elaborate set and costume designs. The series charts the early life of the 19th century queen, as she ascends to the throne at just eighteen. Victoria must juggle ruling a country with establishing her own authority, and then there’s the added complications caused by her falling in love. It’s quite the challenge for someone who’s still growing up.

#3: “The King’s Speech” (2010)

Heading back to between the Wars, our third-place pick looks at the life of King George VI, and his impromptu rise to the throne. Played by Colin Firth, George was expected to lead an entire nation after his brother abdicated, but he found the task was hampered by a very personal struggle. The King was known for his life-long speech impediment, and “The King’s speech” focuses on his treatment of it with an eccentric speech therapist. Firth famously won an Oscar for his performance, and the film’s famous final scenes are firmly locked in movie history.

#2: “The Crown” (2016-)

At the time of filming, this was one of the most expensive Netflix shows ever made. And, it’s pretty easy to see why. Featuring famously beautiful locations, an inventive visual style and a stellar cast of acting talent - fronted by Claire Foy and Matt Smith - “The Crown” seems to be worth every penny. With Foy playing Elizabeth II and Smith as her husband Prince Philip, the binge-worthy series hooks us into the life story of Britain’s reigning monarch - also offering well-pitched portrayals of Princess Margaret, the Queen Mother and a host of top politicians. It gets everyone addicted to the pomp, circumstance and scandal.

#1: “The Queen” (2006)

Helen Mirren’s celebrated career is packed with pristine performances, but nothing beats this award-winning turn as Elizabeth II. The film shows the Royal Family in the wake of Princess Diana’s death, portraying their struggle over which aspects of the matter should be public and private. The Queen acts as an anchor amidst the uproar, with Mirren reflecting the responsibility, expectation and emotional balance that the monarch must manage. Ultimately, the actual Queen gave her seal of approval, by inviting the actress to visit Buckingham palace after the film’s release. Helen had already proven that she was comfortable around corgis, after all!
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