Documentaries About The Queen To Watch Now

By Olivia Emily

2 years ago

Lovely documentaries to learn all about Her Majesty

Born in 1926, the late Queen Elizabeth II ascended to the throne in 1952, when she was only 25 years old. Seventy years later, she sadly died in September 2022, having stood firmly as Britain’s longest reigning monarch since 2007, surpassing her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s 63-year reign. Within that lengthy reign, Her Majesty oversaw numerous periods of change across 15 prime ministers, including the weddings of her children and births of her grandchildren and great grandchildren, the construction and eventual fall of the Berlin Wall, the collapse of the twin towers, and the death of her husband of 73 years, Prince Philip, in 2021. And yet much of her life remains an enigma. You may have seen Netflix’s dramatised rendition of her reign, The Crown, but if you would like to learn more about Her Majesty’s life without a Hollywood sheen, there are plenty of documentaries about the Queen you can watch, whether films or TV series. Here are our favourites.

Queen Elizabeth II: Her Greatest Royal Moments

Documentaries About The Queen To Watch Now

Queen Elizabeth II

(c) Instagram @theroyalfamily

Elizabeth R: A Year In The Life Of The Queen (1992)

This 1992 television documentary film was the first officially approved documentary about the British monarchy since Royal Family (1969) – which has had restricted viewing since 1977, but that viewers can learn about in season 3 episode 4 of The Crown. Elizabeth R was made to mark Her Majesty’s Ruby Jubilee, with filming taking place over a period of 18 months. When it first aired in 1992, half of the British population tuned in. The film features multiple significant figures, insight into Her Majesty’s daily life, and the Queen’s first ever voiceover commentary.

Where To Watch: The DVD can be purchased second-hand online.

Dorothy Wilding, HM Queen Elizabeth II, 1952

Dorothy Wilding, HM Queen Elizabeth II, 1952

Ed Vaizey on the Many Portraits of the Queen

Elizabeth At 90: A Family Tribute (2016)

Described affectionately as ‘Royal Gogglebox’, Elizabeth at 90 was produced by John Bridcut in 2016 to commemorate Her Majesty’s 90th birthday, featuring archival footage of the Royal Family with commentary from the family themselves. Watching from armchairs, the Royals reminisce, giggle, swap fond stories and share tender moments as they watch scenes from across their lives.

Where To Watch: Prime Video

Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen (2022)

A series of home movies shot by the Royal Family throughout the life of the Queen, Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen offers unique insight into Her Majesty’s life. Produced in commemoration of the Platinum Jubilee, the film aired on BBC One earlier this year, in May 2022. The film contains the earliest known footage of the Queen, as a baby in a pram in 1926. There are also numerous clips of the Queen playing with her sister at Balmoral Castle, and clips with her parents, ahead of her wedding, and as a young mother – all of which help viewers feel closer to Her Majesty than ever before.

Where To Watch: BBC iPlayer

The royal family watch the royal fly past, Trooping the Colour June 2013

The Royal Family in June 2013

Where The Royals Eat In London

Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work (2007)

Also known as A Year With The Queen, this fly-on-the-wall, five-episode documentary – produced by the BBC and RDF Media – follows the Royal Family over the course of a year, including a visit to the United States, time at Balmoral with then Prime Minister Tony Blair, the annual Royal Garden Party, and an insight into the activities of other members of the Royal Family.

Where To Watch: The DVD can be purchased second-hand online.

Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts (2022)

The final film from Roger Michell, the director behind Notting Hill, Venus and The Duke, this big-screen tribute to the Queen was screened in London in May in celebration of the Platinum Jubilee, before arriving on Amazon Prime Video shortly after. It encompasses the triumphs and trials of Her Majesty’s reign – from her wedding and coronation to rapidly changing political landscapes and the assassination attempt made against her in 1981 – to show a comprehensive picture of Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Where To Watch: Prime Video

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip, House Garden Party (1953)

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in 1953 (c) Archives New Zealand

Elizabeth & Margaret: Love & Loyalty (2020)

If you watched The Crown, you might have been intrigued by the often-tense relationship between the Queen and her sister, Princess Margaret. Produced by Netflix and released in 2020, the mini docuseries Elizabeth & Margaret: Love & Loyalty delves into their widely misunderstood and complex relationship.

Where To Watch: Netflix

Gentleman, The Queen (1953)

A unique insight into perceptions of Her Majesty before she ascended the throne, Gentlemen, The Queen was aired in 1953, the year of her coronation. In black and white, the film is the most comprehensive deep-dive into Queen Elizabeth II’s pre-monarch life.

Where To Watch: Britbox

Featured Image: Photograph by Dorothy Wilding (c) Royal Collection Trust


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