By Sara Nigro
To celebrate the 100th year of the Windsor’s reign, Netflix released “The Royal House of Windsor” in 2017. The docuseries explains and examines the lives of the royal family using never-before-seen televised documents including letters, photographs and video evidence.
There are multiple narrators ranging from historians, to authors to first-hand witnesses and acquaintances of the people and events being discussed. The stories told are interesting, engaging and perfect for a quick Netflix binge.
Personally, I have never been interested in the royal family. My fourth-grade teacher made us watch William and Kate’s wedding in 2011, but besides that, my knowledge was very limited. The captivating story that caught my attention was none other than Princess Diana, the “people’s princess.”
Hearing stories about the mistreatment of her as princess as well as conspiracies regarding her death launched me into the history of the royals. After watching “Diana, In Her Own Words,” a documentary also on Netflix, I was immediately searching for more. Then, I found “The Royal House of Windsor.”
A six-episode series, the documentary starts in 1917 when the name “Windsor” was originally given to the family. They had been previously known by the German name, “Saxe-Coburg and Gotha,” but King George V decided to change it due to the anti-German sentiment that was very common in England at that time.
The rest of the episode is centered around the king and his sons, Edward VIII and George V. The commentators discuss the family’s dynamic as well as its gossip—all from the distaste for monarchy to multiple secret affairs.
As the episodes continue, the story of the royals progresses to describe the history of the family in detail. The narrators explain the similarities and patterns between different members of the monarchy, such as Edward VIII and Prince Charles, and address the current queen’s long reign. There are also fun facts about each family member that personify them. The personal letters between lovers and videos showing their familial dynamic demonstrate their relatability on the human level despite the roles they were born into.
To me, the most interesting members of the family were Edward VIII, Queen Elizabeth and Princess Diana. Each one of them possessed very different personalities and were unique in adding their own story to the history of their family. Learning about the royal family’s scandals is fascinating, especially since many of them were kept under wraps.
Interestingly enough, my opinions on the royals changed as I continued to watch the series. I learned more about each individual, past the public knowledge that I’d had previously. Realizations about values and policies allowed me to see each of the family members as people, rather than the personas they present to the world.
After I finished the series, I was instantly yearning for more conspiracies about the scandals, podcasts about specific royals and a deeper understanding of the monarchy as a whole. “The Royal House of Windsor” is the perfect introduction into the world of England’s most famous family for those interested in history, stories or any sort of drama.