To paraphrase Lorde, we may never be royals, but many people enjoy watching movies about royalty. There’s excess, intrigue, romance, violence, and a whole lot more to films set in the world of royals, both modern and historical. While some of these films don’t land, many of them prove to be quite successful. These are the best films based on real royal figures. By the way, that means no King Arthur.
01. “The Queen” (2006)
Elizabeth II has been Queen of England for decades. That means she’s seen a lot happen in her life, including the death of her one-time daughter-in-law Diana Spencer.
“The Queen” is one of writer Peter Morgan’s explorations of British royalty, but this one had Helen Mirren at the center. In fact, Mirren won Best Actress for playing Elizabeth.
02. “The King’s Speech” (2010)
Young Elizabeth II is in “The King’s Speech” as well, as the film centers on her father. After George VI’s father died and his brother abdicated the throne, it was left to him to rule over the United Kingdom at the onset of World War II.
However, George VI dealt with a stutter, and this film is about him overcoming that. “The King’s Speech” ended up a controversial Best Picture winner, with many feeling like “The Social Network” should have won.
03. “The Young Victoria” (2009)
Queen Victoria is one of England’s most famous monarchs, but she usually only pops up fleetingly in films, like various Sherlock Holmes tales. She got to be the star of “The Young Victoria,” though, with Emily Blunt in the role. Julian Fellowes, creator of “Downton Abbey,” wrote the screenplay.
04. “The Madness of King George” (1994)
King George III is famous in America, as he was King of England at the time of the American Revolution. It was also thought, for many years, that he was mentally ill. “The Madness of King George” picks up that ball and runs with it.
While it may not be entirely accurate, it was well-received both in the United States and the United Kingdom. Even after that whole revolution thing, we can still find common ground.
05. “Elizabeth: The Golden Age” (2007)
About a decade after “Elizabeth,” director Shekhar Kapur reunited with his star for another film about Elizabeth I. This one covers the later period of her reign. Blanchett (and Geoffrey Rush) returned as well, and you’ll never guess what happened. Yes, Blanchett was nominated again for Best Actress, putting her in rare company among people who have been nominated more than once for playing the same character (or historical figure, in this case).