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All the Other TV Shows About Royals Worth Binge-Watching
TV series or documentary, take your pick.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS/ PEXELS
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If you like Henry VIII…

Wolf Hall

Before bursting onto the scene with her spot-on portrayal of Queen Elizabeth, Claire Foy played the infamous Anne Boleyn in this BBC Two miniseries. The story centers on Thomas Cromwell, who served as King Henry VIII’s chief minister during a tumultuous time in his reign. If you’re looking to fill that Claire Foy void in your life and not looking to commit to anything longer than a full-blown television series, then this six-part drama is perfect for you.

If you like Queen Victoria…

Victoria

Before the events that transpired during Victoria and Abdul, there was the young, naïve Queen Victoria, very much in love with Prince Albert and afraid of childbirth. There’s still time to catch up with this series by PBS Masterpiece before the third season’s release. For those already on the Victoria train, a Christmas special will debut on Christmas Day.

If you like King Richard…

The Hollow Crown: The Wars of the Roses

Shakespeare’s historical plays come to life in the second cycle of this three-part television adaptation. Benedict Cumberbatch plays King Richard III in this sequel to the BAFTA-winning TV series which originally starred Tom Hiddleston and Jeremy Irons. Critics liken it to Game of Thrones and commend the performance of the all-star British cast.

If you like Queen Elizabeth I…

Reign

This drama series follows a young Mary Stuart from the time she left her country to marry Prince Francis until the series finale covering her death. Queen Elizabeth I, Mary’s chief rival, is very much a part of the series. Bear in mind that the CW series—from the same network that produced shows such as Gossip Girl and Jane The Virgin—is only loosely based on true events and does not hold back on the drama.

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If you like Edward VIII…

Downton Abbey

This period drama favorite does not focus on real-life royals per se, but in the Christmas special, the Crawleys encounter Prince Edward—pre-abdication crisis—and his first love, Freda Ward. Edward was depicted as a guest at the debutante ball of Lady Rose MacClare. The heir shares a dance with the fictional character.

Wallis, The Queen That Never Was

Anyone who’s heard the story of King Edward VIII’s abdication might think of the gesture as endearing but not everyone knows that the one person who opposed it as much as the British government was Wallis Simpson herself. In the documentary Wallis, The Queen That Never Was, historians explore the events from Simpson’s point of view. “You need to suffer in order to get what you want,” her Aunt Bessie Merryman tells a young Wallis in the documentary. That, she did.


If you like Queen Elizabeth II…

The Windsors

Even the British sometimes poke fun at their royal family. This local program by Channel 4 is a satire that follows current events, such as Philip’s retirement and Meghan Markle’s introduction, but portrays them in a topsy-turvy world where Prince Charles has an identical twin and Pippa Middleton is jealous of Kate. Fair warning, it may easily offend hardcore royalists.  

King Charles III

This TV movie set in the near future explores the reign of Prince Charles. While critics label it as borderline treasonous, The Guardian calls it promising and worthy of a Bafta TV award for its boldness. The movie imagines the events from scratch and mainly use the characters for their names. Strange occurrences include Diana’s ghost and a palace coup led by Prince William—events far from happening in real life.

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If you like Princess Diana…

Diana: In Her Own Words

In honor of Diana’s 20th death anniversary, National Geographic has released this documentary containing recordings of a very in-depth and personal interview with the former princess. From her unhappy childhood to the accusations she faced during her marriage to Prince Charles, the two-hour documentary reveals Diana’s most private thoughts.

If you like other royal families…

Versailles

The ongoing BBC miniseries is set during the reign of King Louis XIV, who in the first season had just built the grand Versailles to keep the French nobles under his nose and away from Paris. Although disloyal to historical facts, the series is a show of grandeur and drama—everything deserving of the pomp that is Versailles.

The Empire of the Tsars

While the wait for the series Romanoffs is unbearable, BBC’s Lucy Worsley gives us a chance to brush up on Russian history with this retelling of the empire’s greatest rulers. The three-part docuseries covers nearly three centuries of tsars and explores the cause of the empire’s demise.

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Hannah Lazatin
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