Throughout her life, Queen Elizabeth II has been a constant presence on screens.
The British monarch has been starred in wacky comedies (The naked gun) to psychological dramas (spencer).
But she wasn’t the only queen to grace the Hollywood world.
Since its inception, the film industry has enjoyed stories of royal exploits, whether in historical dramas or more contemporary biopics.
While foreign monarchs have provided plenty of inspiration for Hollywood screenwriters too – think so Marie Antoinette or Come to America – the most lucrative starting material always seemed to be the British monarchy.
Here’s a rundown of eight of the best royal movies.
Staged by the idiosyncratic Killing a Sacred Deer Filmmaker Yorgos Lanthimos, The favourite is a riotous, black comedy exploration of a love triangle between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) in the early 18th century. Colman is superb — and at times grotesque — as the spoiled, vengeful queen, and won an Oscar for her efforts.
The king’s speech
Tom Hooper’s solidly crafted historical drama focuses on King George VI (Colin Firth) and his efforts to treat his stutter with the help of a speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush. This film also won four major Oscars for best picture, best director (Hooper), best actor (Firth) and best original screenplay and was a huge box office hit.
Judi Dench played Queen Victoria in this 1997 film, which focuses on the relationship between the recently widowed monarch and her faithful Scottish servant, John Brown (Billy Connelly). The film was well received when it was first released. Dench would later reprise the role of Queen in the 2017 independent film Viktoria & Abdel.
The young Victoria
There’s a lot of star power in it The young Victoria, Julian Fellowes’ 2009 film about Queen Victoria’s early life and her marriage to Prince Albert. Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson, Mark Strong and Jim Broadbent are among the unbiased cast; The film itself is light and pleasantly romantic.
This 2006 biopic is perhaps the definitive portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II. On screen, Helen Mirren played the Queen immediately after Princess Diana’s death. Mirren is fantastic in the career-defining role, having played Elizabeth I on a television series just a year earlier.
Timothee Chalamet plays a young King Henry V in this Netflix-released film loosely based on the Shakespeare play. After the death of Henry’s father, the new king is thrust into a world of slippery politics and harrowing wars.
the other Boleyn girl
The fact that the other Boleyn girl is written by The crown‘s Peter Moran might explain some of the liberties taken with historical truth. The film follows Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson), the occasional mistress of King Henry VIII (Eric Bana), and her sister Anne (Natalie Portman), who later became the king’s second wife before she was beheaded.
In this 2021 drama, Kristen Stewart played the late Princess Diana, who was trapped in a mansion with the rest of the royal family over a fateful Christmas in 1991. The film is fiction but remains one of the most interesting interpretations of English royalty to this day. Stewart is spectacular, and Stella Gonet’s Queen Elizabeth packs a real punch in her short screen tenure.
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