There are plenty of things to keep royal fans happy. They can follow the daily happenings of Kate Middleton, Meghan Markle, Queen Elizabeth II, and other royalty from around the world. Furthermore, royalists can stream countless TV shows, both old and new. (See The Crown and Victoria.) Those who want to chill in front of the TV (or computer) can also try royal movies.
There are as many films about royals as there are actual royals. Whether you're looking for a movie about a French queen or a king who abdicated, you can find them. Besides having royal story lines that are inspired by real events, all of the movies have drool-worthy costumes, fantastic acting, and they will leave you wanting more. That's why we've given you plenty of options to get started. Have a look at 16 positively regal royal movies to watch.
The Weinstein Company
Want to see something about kings? Then the appropriately-named The King's Speech is a brilliant one to watch. The 2010 film earned high praise and accolades from the critics. Awards or no awards, it's a fascinating story about Prince Albert of England (Colin Firth) attempting to overcome his stammer to make public speeches when he ascends to the throne as King George VI. (He's Queen Elizabeth II's father.) His wife Elizabeth (a genius Helena Bonham Carter) hires Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), an Australian actor and speech therapist to aid Albert/George in overcoming his speech impediment. You might not think that a movie where people work on voice lessons would be thrilling, but it genuinely is, especially when you consider George's position.
Working Title Films
There are many different movies about Elizabeth. Here we simply have Elizabeth. The 1998 movie stars Cate Blanchett as Queen Elizabeth I. You'll think that the actress is completely perfect for the role given her regal looks and auburn hair. As for the story, you'll be engrossed right through all two hours and six minutes of it. The plot begins with Elizabeth Tudor (Cate) ascending to the throne in England in 1558. It's a dangerous time in the country because of the division between Protestants and Catholics. Elizabeth, who is Protestant, becomes Queen despite being under house arrest after the passing of the Catholic Queen Mary. To help heal the divide of the country, it's advised that Queen Elizabeth marries. She has her own ideas. They're called into question with her secretary Walsingham (Geoffrey Rush [yes, again]) and a certain Sir Robert Dudley (Joseph Fiennes).
Victoria & Abdul is one of the more recent royal films to hit theaters. The movie was released in 2017 and focuses on Queen Victoria (Judi Dench)'s later years. Most people know of Queen Victoria's relationship with Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, but some might not know about her relationship with Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). He comes from India to England to participate the Queen's golden jubilee. The BBC Films movie is based on the novel of the same name by Shrabani Basu and looks at the fascinating real-life relationship between HRH and Abdul. They both help the other one look at the world with new eyes.
Let's bring it back to the time of King Henry VIII. Eric Bana plays the iconic king in The Other Boleyn Girl. He is in a bit of pickle because he doesn't have an heir. Obviously, he's not the only one who realizes this. The Duke of Norfolk (David Morrissey) and Sir Thomas Boleyn (Mark Rylance) convince Sir Thomas's daughter Anne Boleyn (Natalie Portman) to go after the king. (Just go along with it.) The family troubles become even more complicated when Anne's sister, Mary Boleyn (Scarlett Johansson) and the king have a special connection. The plot line is already intriguing, but we should also point out that Benedict Cumberbatch, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Eddie Redmayne are in the film, too. Oh, and it's dramatic as hell.
Don't ignore W.E. just because it was directed by Madonna. It's easy to think that a singer trying their hand at directing would result in a not-so-great film. W.E. actually holds up. It's not the traditional film based on real life events. It begins in more modern times with New York-based Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) taking a very keen interest in the romance between American divorcee Wallis Simpson (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward VIII (James D'Arcy), the former King of England. It all starts thanks to a Sotheby auction of the royal couple's belongings. The deeper the story goes, the more intriguing it becomes. Even if you know the deal with Wallis and Edward, or W.E., you will still want to watch the film.
Sixty Years A Queen is something that all cinephiles will want to see. Actually, pretty much anyone with a vague interest in films will want to see it. The movie is from 1913. That is not a typo. The silent production not only highlights the early days of cinema, it looks back at the incredible reign of Queen Victoria. Blanche Forsythe plays the younger queen with Louie Henri taking on the role of the older monarch. Roy Travers is Prince Albert. The film is inspired by a piece by Sir Herbert Maxwell, 7th Baronet which was written in 1897 and looked back at the queen's lengthy reign. There are so many fascinating aspects of the movie, so it's worth getting your hands on it.
Films about English monarchs are dandy, but they're not our only option. If you want something outside out the United Kingdom, watch Marie Antoinette for all the drama of the French court. The 2006 film was directed by Sofia Coppola and stars Kirsten Dunst as the young queen and Jason Schwartzman as the Dauphin of France/Louis XVI. It looks at the start of the teenage queen's reign and is filled with enough pastel visuals and costumes to fill a Pinterest board. The movie also has a great supporting cast including Jamie Dornan, Molly Shannon, Rose Byrne, and more. You might know the ending, but you'll still have fun along the way.
If you want more French royalty and Marie Antoinette, put on Farewell, My Queen. You might not have heard of the 2012 movie because it is a French language film. But, you'll likely know the stars. It features Diane Kruger as the Queen of France and Léa Seydoux as Sidonie Laborde, who is one of Marie's readers. The drama brings a fresh perspective to the story of the young queen by focusing on her relationship with her servant. Even those who don't speak French would enjoy the movie without subtitles thanks to the decadent costumes and wigs. It is très, très chic.
20th Century Fox
The Virgin Queen proves that Hollywood has always had an interest in retelling royal stories throughout the decades. Yes, we know there are a number of Elizabeth I films, but this Old Hollywood version cannot be missed. The 1955 movie stars the legendary Bette Davis as Queen Elizabeth I and the equally legendary Joan Collins as Elizabeth "Beth" Throckmorton, one of the queen's ladies in waiting. The drama focuses on the queen's relationship with Sir Walter Raleigh (Richard Todd). It begins with Walter returning from the conflict in Ireland. The Queen is intrigued by his unique manner. That's all we're gonna say.
Dame Helen Mirren as Queen Elizabeth II? It's hard to get more of a powerful match than that. In the 2006 movie, The Queen, we see how HRH is handling the untimely passing of Princess Diana. We obviously don't know exactly how the true Queen handled the situation IRL, but the movie brings to light a personal side we might not have considered. It's especially interesting given that the public thought that Buckingham Palace was not handling the situation right. On top of that, the movie shows that then-Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) had conflicting ideas about how to confront the situation.
Initial Entertainment Group
We've seen a few stories that focus on the latter part of Queen Victoria's life. It's pretty obvious that The Young Victoria centers on the earlier period given the title. The 2009 drama features Emily Blunt in the role of the title character. Our story begins with the passing of King William IV (Jim Broadbent) and a teenage Victoria being the heiress apparent. She's in a difficult enough situation and it's made all the more precarious by her mom, the Duchess of Kent, (Miranda Richardson) wanting her to sign a regency order. On top of that, her uncle, King Leopold I of Belgium (Thomas Kretschmann) wants her to marry Prince Albert (Rupert Friend). And you thought you had problems as a teenager. Fun fact: The film was produced by Sarah "Fergie" Ferguson, The Duchess of York and Martin Scorsese.
Yes, Cate Blanchett is back again as Queen Elizabeth. The story picks up a few years later in Elizabeth: The Golden Age. And there is plenty of drama going on. Basically, the monarch has to deal with threats wherever she looks. There's something brewing with her cousin Mary Stuart (Samantha Morton) and King Philip II of Spain (Jordi Mollà) has plans to restore Roman Catholicism in England — and his methods aren't shy. On top of that, Sir Walter Raleigh (Clive Owen) is causing his own share of problems. The film shows there's no job like being queen. It's a fascinating watch for those of us who don't have royal blood. The 2007 film was released nine years after Elizabeth.
This is one of those royal movies that brings us back to the time of King Henry VIII's death. His single would-be heir Edward VI (Warren Saire) is very ill and there are fears that if King Henry's daughter Princess Mary (Jane Lapotaire) becomes queen she will undo the Protestant Reformation because she's Roman Catholic. So, a plan is hatched to get Edward to marry Lady Jane Grey (Helena Bonham Carter), hence the title Lady Jane. Of course, a complicated plan has complicated problems. The movie was released in 1986 and it's great just to see a young Helena. Oh, and Patrick Stewart from Star Trek fame is in it.
A lot of stories profile the kings and queens, but have you ever wondered what things would have been like from their family's perspective? Then you will like Bertie and Elizabeth. The 2002 TV movie looks at Queen Elizabeth, soon-to-be Queen Mother (Juliet Aubrey) and her relationship with Bertie, Duke of York and soon-to-be King George VI. The story begins with their marriage in 1923 and takes us all the way to their final days together. There is so much that happens along the way from coronations to wars to children, and the TV film manages to condense it down to 98 minutes. They could have just focused on the king but seeing how Elizabeth is involved makes it all the more fascinating.
Not sure who Mrs. Brown is and what she has to do with anything? Have a quick history lesson and a great movie experience with the 1997 film Mrs. Brown. It's interesting because we have Judi Dench playing Queen Victoria again. This story is set following the passing of the queen's beloved Prince Albert. She is beside herself and retreats from public life. Then she appoints Prince Albert's former servant John Brown (Billy Connolly) to aid her during this difficult time. He has some unconventional methods and the situation isn't helped by the rumors about what kind of relationship the queen and John have. Juicy.
Mary of Scotland is one of the throwback royal movies. It stars the legendary Katharine Hepburn as Mary Stuart. If you've recently watched 2018's Mary Queen of Scots, it's interesting to compare it to the 1936 film. The Katharine Hepburn version focuses specifically on the time after Mary's husband, the King of France, passes away and she returns to the highlands of Scotland. When she marries the Earl of Bothwell (Fredric March) there is a divide among the Scottish people. Things become direr when the situation expands to England and Elizabeth of England (Florence Eldridge) becomes involved. You know the final result, but you'll still be gripped to everything that happens.