Today marks Prince Charles and Camilla’s 10th wedding anniversary. Their love affair was once a source of controversy, but as the years have passed the royal couple have become a symbol of unity and the wider family have again taken up residence in the UK public’s affections – largely thanks to the matrimony of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the birth of Prince George. To celebrate this milestone anniversary we wanted to suggest a rich serving of regal themed movies.
This documentary style film is set is 1997, immediately after Tony Blair’s Labour Government won the election, ending 18 years of Conservative rule. As tradition dictates, Blair (Michael Sheen) must introduce himself to the Queen (Helen Mirren) and ask for permission to govern the country. The stone-faced Regina duly gives permission but remains tacitly in charge. Shortly afterwards the former Princess of Wales is killed in Paris. The Queen’s initial reaction was to hold rank and treat Diana as an outsider. Blair predicts a swell of public opinion against this course of action and tries, in vain, to make her majesty see sense. The question of who’s truly in charge comes to the fore. Helen Mirren reigns supreme in The Queen; so much so, she won numerous awards, was praised by the Queen herself and apparently invited to dinner at Buckingham Palace (although she allegedly couldn’t attend due to filming commitments in Hollywood).
The Blu-ray edition includes a behind-the-scenes featurette titled “The Making of The Queen”, which presents interviews with Mirren, Sheen, and others discussing their portrayals of the real-life characters in the film. There is also an interesting commentary with British Historian and Royal Expert Robert Lacey, which is packed full of anecdotes, inside information, and little-known facts about the royals.
Based on the true story of King George VI, The King’s Speech follows the Royal Monarch’s quest to find his voice. After the death of his father King George V (Michael Gambon) and the scandalous abdication of King Edward VIII (Guy Pearce), Bertie (Colin Firth) who had suffered from a debilitating speech impediment all his life, was suddenly crowned King George VI of England. With his country on the brink of war and in desperate need of a leader, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), the future Queen Mother, arranged for her husband to see an eccentric speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). After a rough start, the two delved into an unorthodox course of treatment and eventually formed an unbreakable bond. With the support of Logue, his family, his government and Winston Churchill (Timothy Spall), the King overcame his stammer and delivered a radio-address that inspired his people and united them in battle. The film received many awards and nominations, particularly for Colin Firth’s performance. The King’s Speech features an assortment of extras; a strong ‘making-of’ featurette; and a pair of the real King George VI’s wartime speeches. A full list of extras can be found on Blu-ray.com.
W.E., co-written and directed by Madonna, tells the story of two fragile but determined women – Wally Winthrop and Wallis Simpson – separated by more than six decades. In 1998, lonely New Yorker Wally Winthrop (Abbie Cornish) is obsessed with what she perceives as the ultimate love story: King Edward’s VIII’s abdication of the British throne for the woman he loved, American divorcée Wallis Simpson. But Wally’s research reveals that the couple’s life together was not as perfect as she thought. Weaving back and forth in time, W.E. intertwines Wally’s journey of discovery in New York with the story of Wallis (Andrea Riseborough) and Edward (James D’Arcy), from the glamorous early days of their romance to the slow unravelling of their lives in the years that followed.