2 x 1 hr
A divorced, mixed race actress from America has become the latest royal wife. Only a generation ago either one of these factors could have been enough to prevent her marrying a royal. Meghan Markle’s very British welcome defines the current modernity of the monarchy, but it was the royal wives before who paved the way… What can she learn from their marriages?
This two part prime time series explores how the women who wed into the house of Windsor over the last century have transformed the most famous dynasty in the world. Each royal wife a sign of her times, a mirror of our cultural history and a reflection of how the monarchy has re-invented itself. As a nation we’ve been enthralled by Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Queen Mother), Wallis Simpson, Lady Diana Spencer, Sarah Ferguson, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Sophie Rhys Jones and Catherine Middleton. All have faced judgement by the British public. Their fairy-tale weddings, scandals, fortitude, sense of duty and tragedy have shaped our nation. Now that Meghan is about to enter the monarchy, what can she expect from life as a royal wife?
Offering a timely perspective on Britain’s royal history the series combines rare archive with insightful commentary. A host of historians (David Starkey, Kate Williams, Piers Brendon), broadcasters (Jeremy Paxman, Gyles Brandreth), biographers (Andrew Morton, Penny Junor, Anne Sebba), insiders (butlers, bodyguards and press secretaries) and journalists (Roya Nikkhah, Rachel Johnson, Afua Hirsch) provide a colourful and informed look at the lives of the royal wives of Windsor and how they reflect on our society in Britain.
Spun Gold for ITV One, UK
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