By Emma Shacklock published
Documentaries are the perfect way to gain a unique insight into the intriguing world of our Royal Family.
- As questions about the accuracy of The Crown continue to be asked, many viewers are looking to learn more about the royal family.
- We reveal our pick of the best royal documentaries out there and how you can watch them from the comfort of your own home.
- In other Royal News, Princess Beatrice broke royal tradition as she followed in Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's footsteps.
With so much still unknown, royal traditions unexplained and secrets kept private, it can often seem like we’ll never discover the truth behind the many fictional films and series we enjoy every day. Now with the release of The Crown Season 4, more people than ever are eager to learn more about our Royal Family.
What was Princess Diana’s relationship with the royal family really like? And how has Queen Elizabeth negotiated life as the longest reigning British monarch?
With the Christmas break approaching, there’s never been a better time to settle down and enjoy a royal documentary - or two.
Here we reveal our pick of the best documentaries on the royal family and how you can watch them online.
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Best documentaries on the royal family
The Royal House of Windsor
This 6-part docuseries gives viewers an exclusive behind-the-scenes insight into the history of the British royal family. It traces the origins of the British monarchy up until the modern era, through rare archive footage and interviews.
The series shows how the royals have survived the last 100 years of politics, power struggles and more. This makes for the perfect viewing experience for those wishing to gain a comprehensive overview of the British royal family.
Serving the Royals: Inside the Firm
This unique documentary film showcases a range of different perspectives into the royal family’s history. It profiles the servants, consultants, advisers and guards who work for the royal House of Windsor.
Serving the Royals shines a light on the inner workings of palace life and how the royals function away from the public eye.
This fascinating documentary includes details about most aspects of royal life that viewers could possibly be interested in learning more about. Covering everything from the splendour of the royals, to babies, weddings and even controversies, with experts to give their opinions on how events have influenced and impacted the monarchy, there’s plenty to enjoy.
Best documentaries about Queen Elizabeth II
Being the Queen
For those who can’t help being fascinated by the life and reign of our Queen Elizabeth II, this documentary is the perfect choice. Diving right into the life of our monarch, Being the Queen incorporates archive footage as well as never-before-heard interviews to show viewers the real woman behind the crown.
Elizabeth is Queen
Originally released in cinemas, this 1953 documentary reveals the astonishing footage of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation day in glorious colour. For those who want to experience the magic of one of the biggest days in the Queen’s life, this brings the excitement and splendour of the occasion into your own home 67 years later. It’s just as wonderful now as it was then!
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The Majestic Life of Queen Elizabeth II
Created to chronicle our reigning monarch’s reign, this brilliant documentary features rare archive footage which helps to uncover the story behind a princess’s journey to become queen.
Beginning with the death of the Queen’s father King George VI, this documentary ends with the marriage of her grandson Prince William to Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge.
The Story of Queen Elizabeth II
The Story of Queen Elizabeth II recounts the life of Queen Elizabeth and how she began her career as a royal. Each of the many exciting and terrifying historical moments that have occurred throughout her lifetime have helped to shape this extraordinary ruler. With this documentary, viewers can see how the Queen became who she is today.
Best documentaries about Princess Diana
The Story of Diana
For those who have been transfixed by The Crown’s depiction of their early relationship, this documentary reveals the real-life public unravelling of Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ marriage and is even more heart-breaking and astonishing.
Those who provide their thoughts on the late princess include her brother and others who knew her very well. As the media became ever more intrusive, viewers will see the seeds planted for the tragedy that would later befall the Princess of Wales.
Diana: 7 Days that Shook the World
First released on the 20th anniversary of Princess Diana’s death, this documentary delves into the devastation felt by the royal family and the nation in the seven days after she died. It features interviews with both of the Princess of Wales’ sons, Prince William and Prince Harry.
They reflect on how they coped with the loss of their mother. This is an incredibly moving documentary and definitely one to add to your to-watch list.
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The Diana Story Part I: The Young Princess
The first chapter of this documentary series focuses on Princess Diana as she was first introduced to royal life and the royal family. Beginning with her arrival at Balmoral Castle in 1980, fans of The Crown Season 4 might be familiar with a few moments that inspired the fictional series.
Two years after that summer, Lady Diana Spencer became the royal princess that captured the nation’s hearts.
Diana: In Her Own Words
For those looking for a truly in-depth documentary that sheds light on the real life of the late Princess Diana, there doesn’t come much more comprehensive than this. Taken from journalist and biographer Andrew Morton’s collection of previously unheard recordings with the late princess, this tells the events of Princess Diana’s life, as she experienced them.
Finding Freedom by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex may regularly make headlines, but in this enlightening novel, Scobie and Durand delve into the unknown details of the couple’s life together.
Battle of Brothers by Robert Lacey
Written by royal expert Robert Lacey, this book gives readers an unparalleled insight into William and Harry’s early closeness and later rumoured estrangement. It asks what happens when two sons are raised for very different futures and explores each of the family's highs, lows and most difficult decisions.
Diana: The People's Princess by Nicholas Owen
This book from Nicholas Owen documents the life and death of Princess Diana, and aims to celebrate her achievements, her legacy, and the public outpouring of grief following her death. It's also been brought up to date to include Prince Harry's marriage to Meghan Markle.
With so much to learn and enjoy about our royal family, these documentaries are sure to give you all the behind-the-scenes insights you could ever need.
Emma is a Senior Lifestyle Writer with five years experience working in digital publishing, ranging from book publishing to magazines. She currently looks after all things Lifestyle for Woman&Home, GoodToKnow and My Imperfect Life.
Before she joined Future Publishing, Emma graduated from the University of Warwick with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Comparative Literary Studies. After leaving education, she started out her publishing career in the world of books, working as a Publisher for an independent digital publisher specializing in back-list and debut commercial fiction novels. With a huge book list and a passion for bringing the best stories to the broadest audience possible, Emma filled her spare time with reading the latest best-sellers and catching up on hit adaptations.
In 2017 she joined TI Media as a fiction writing coordinator on Woman’s Weekly and Woman’s Weekly Fiction as part of the features team. From here, she used her love of books, working to bring short stories to our dedicated readers and began writing for the books pages of Woman, Woman’s Own and Woman&Home, as well as online features ranging from genre round-ups to travel pieces for womanandhome.com.
After honing her skills, Emma branched out online in 2020 when Future gave her the opportunity to focus on digital-first. When she’s not writing about the next big lifestyle trend, she enjoys cooking, long walks and watching as many crime dramas as she can!
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