Top 10 Documentaries to Watch if You Liked The Crown

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Top 10 Documentaries to Watch if You Liked The Crown

VOICE OVER: Emily Brayton WRITTEN BY: Savannah Sher
These are the documentaries to watch if you liked "The Crown." Our countdown includes "Diana: The Roy Truth," "Being the Queen," "The Royal House of Windsor," and more!
Transcript

Top 10 Documentaries to Watch if You Liked The Crown


Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 10 Documentaries to Watch If You Liked The Crown.

For this list, we’ll be looking at documentaries that cover the real-life British royals and/or related topics.

Have you seen these docs? Let us know in the comments!

#10: “Diana: The Royal Truth” (2017)


2017 marked the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, so a number of documentaries were released that year to commemorate the tragic date. This documentary called “Diana: The Royal Truth”, was written, directed and edited by Jordan Hill. It’s a first hand account featuring contributions from Paul Burrell, a long-time servant of the royal family and a butler to Diana herself. While he worked for her, Burrell acted as a confidant to the Princess of Wales, and in this film he shares an intimate portrait of a woman who few people knew as well as he did.

#9: “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy” (2017)


Also released in 2017, “Diana, Our Mother: Her Life and Legacy” was commissioned by Princes William and Harry to commemorate their mother’s life on the 20th anniversary of her death. They are both interviewed for the film, along with big names like Sir Elton John, and Diana’s brother, Charles Spencer. It focuses largely on the philanthropic efforts of the Princess of Wales and the effects she had on the causes that were near and dear to her - as well as her sons themselves. The two princes also commissioned another documentary in 2017, “Diana, 7 Days”, which focuses specifically on the aftermath of her death and her much-watched funeral proceedings.

#8: “Prince Philip: The Plot to Make a King” (2015)


Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is one of the primary figures featured in “The Crown’s” first four seasons as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II. Despite his role in the royal family, the public may still not know much about this enigmatic person. In this documentary, “Prince Philip: The Plot to Make a King”, which was released in 2015, we learn how Louis Mountbatten, Philip’s uncle, angled to have him placed on the throne beside Elizabeth. Considering “The Crown” kicks off with the two getting married, this film provides some interesting context and background information.

#7: “Wallis Simpson: The Secret Letters” (2016)


The backdrop of the first season of “The Crown” includes King Edward VIII’s abdication to marry divorcee Wallis Simpson. The two feature on the show, but this documentary dives deeper into their relationship and gives viewers insight into the much-maligned figure of the woman who would become the Duchess of Windsor. Originally broadcast on Britain’s Channel 4 in 2011, “Wallis Simpson: The Secret Letters” uncovers correspondence that suggests that Simpson wasn’t as enthusiastic about the marriage as history would make her seem, adding an extra layer of intrigue to an already juicy bit of the royal narrative.

#6: “The Queen Mother: A Royal Century” (1999)


Queen Elizabeth II’s mother, Elizabeth Angela Marguerite Bowes-Lyon, known generally as simply “The Queen Mother” is an important figure in the royal family. But her story hasn’t been told as often as those of her husband or daughters. This documentary, “The Queen Mother: A Royal Century” released before the royal figure’s 100th birthday, covers her life spanning from World War II to the turn of the 21st century. Contributors like royal expert David Starkey paint a picture of a woman whose contributions to Britain go largely unnoticed.

#5: “Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm” (2015)


Known colloquially as “The Firm”, the massive team serving the British royal family certainly has enough information to expose some of the monarchy’s most private details. First airing on Canada’s CBC TV in 2013, this documentary known as “Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm” looks at the 1200 employees who work behind the scenes to keep the royal machine running. The movie was created by John Curtin, who had previously made two other documentaries about the royals. The filmmakers speak to cleaners, dog-walkers, guards, and servants who have served the House of Windsor and maintain the family’s most intimate secrets.

#4: “The Story of Diana” (2017)


ABC and People Magazine teamed up to create this four-hour television documentary about Princess Diana, which aired in 2017. “The Story Of Diana” features interviews with her brother, Charles Spencer, along with members of the press both past and present, who provide insight into Diana’s popularity and her treatment by the media. Some of Diana’s friends are also interviewed, including Richard Branson, Lana Marks and Wayne Sleep. Despite being made by members of the media, it takes a critical look at Diana’s troublesome relationship with the paparazzi and how it impacted her life.

#3: “Being the Queen” (2020)


Queen Elizabeth II’s story is at the center of all four seasons of “The Crown”, and this 2020 documentary dives deeper into the real life trajectory of her long reign. Using archival footage from her decades of service, “Being the Queen” reveals new information that may be surprising to even the most avid royal family followers. Created by National Geographic, the film looks at Elizabeth and Philip’s relationship as well as many other aspects of her time on the throne. It was directed by Tom Jennings, who directed another documentary that’s yet to come on this list.

#2: “The Royal House of Windsor” (2017)


If you’re looking for a documentary that closely follows the timeline of “The Crown”, this one is probably your best bet. “The Royal House Of Windsor”, which was released in 2017, looks at the current royal family’s time on the British throne. It starts around the beginning of World War II and spans the decades into the present day. It covers many of the events seen on “The Crown’s” first four seasons, giving real-life footage and context for the drama that unfolded on the show. It’s split into six episodes so there’s room to dive deep into every period discussed.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions.

“The Majestic Life of Queen Elizabeth II” (2013)
A Look at the Monarch's 60 Year Reign

“The Royals” (2014)
A Series That Follows Some of the Younger Members of the Royal Family

“Margaret: The Rebel Princess” (2019)
A Look at the Life of Elizabeth's Wild Child Younger Sister

“Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute” (2016)
Features Rare Home Video Footage

#1: “Diana: In Her Own Words” (2017)


Many fans of “The Crown” were eagerly awaiting the release of season four, which was set to finally show the relationship developing between Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer. Those who want to hear Diana’s story from her own perspective should be sure to watch “Diana: In Her Own Words.” Co-directed by Tom Jennings and David Tillman, it largely features candid recordings that the Princess secretly gave in 1991 that revealed details about the troubles in her marriage, her mental health struggles and what she went through growing up. This primary source material gives insight into her personality like we’ve never had before.
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