With the Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's royal wedding quickly approaching, interest in the royal family has never been greater. If you're a little behind on your royal knowledge, don't fret: the couple doesn't wed until May 19, so there's plenty of time to learn everything you need to know about the ins and outs of the House of Windsor. A good place to start? Netflix. There are tons of shows about the royal family to watch on Netflix that will provide answers to all your questions, plus a few behind-the-crown secrets. Whether you're looking for a documentary series about the line of succession, a riveting reenactment of palace drama, or intimate interviews with the royals themselves, Netflix will be your go-to royal headquarters from now until the wedding.
Sure, The Crown is an amazing fictional(ish) version of Queen Elizabeth II's story, but what if you're looking for something a little more real? Netflix has you covered with an amazing selection of documentaries and docu-series that tell the royal family's story through the eyes of the people who know them best. Or maybe you're interested in the history of the royal lineage, all the way back to the 16th century? Netflix has got you there, too. No matter where your interest in the monarchy lies — past, present, or future (can we get a documentary about Charlotte and George, please?), you're sure to find something to enjoy in Netflix's vast library of royal content.
How can I talk about Netflix's shows about the royal family and not mention The Crown? Netflix's original series about Queen Elizabeth II's time on the throne is deserving of every Emmy, every Golden Globe, and every Screen Actors Guild award it's been given. Each season of the show covers about 10 years in the queen's 60-plus year reign, and while it focuses on the larger historical events that occurred during her rule, it also focuses on her relationship with her sister, Princess Margaret, her husband, Prince Philip, and her children. Of course, certain elements of reality have been distorted for entertainment purposes, but if you're looking to learn about the royal family (and watch some amazingly talented actors), The Crown on Netflix is a great place to start.
The Royal House of Windsor
This docu-series chronicles the royal family over the last 100 years as they have dealt with global wars, changing social values, and the collapse of the British commonwealth. The Royal House of Windsor originally aired in Britain in 2017, but now that it's on Netflix, viewers all over the world will be able to see the show's unique mix of archival footage and interviews with people close to the crown. The production company behind The Royal House of Windsor, Spun Gold, will also be producing a TV documentary about Meghan Markle, titled Meghan Markle: An American Princess, which will air on Friday, March 11, just over one week before the wedding.
Another docu-series on Netflix, The Royals focuses on distinct moments in the monarchy's history, like weddings, scandals, births, and deaths. Each episode in the series is devoted to a different topic to showcase the multi-faceted life of the royal family rather than simply present their history in chronological order. The Royals is considerably lighter in tone than The Royal House of Windsor (there's a whole episode on royal pets, if that tells you anything), but it still provides interesting insight for curious fans and in-depth interviews with people close to the family.
The Tudors takes things way back — as in, back to the 16th century when King Henry VIII ruled the United Kingdom. The series aired on Showtime from 2007 to 2010, and during that time, it became known for its scandalously sexy portrayal of life in 16th century England. First and foremost, The Tudors is an entertaining show (that is, it's not the most factually correct thing in the world), but it still bases its characters and their problems off the real-world struggle of King Henry VIII. If you remember anything from high school history, you may recall that Henry VIII was the man who had six wives and broke with the Catholic church over his decision to annul one of those marriages. So yeah, you could say it was a pretty busy time for the royal family, even if Henry VIII's problems were slightly different than Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's today.
Diana: 7 Days That Shook The World
OK, this one is a TV movie, not a show, but it's Diana, so you've got to let it slide. This 2017 BBC documentary explores the aftermath of Princess Diana's tragic death and the dramatic week leading up to her funeral. With new interviews featuring Prince Harry and Prince William, Diana's siblings, and palace insiders, Diana: 7 Days That Shook The World is a can't miss look at one of the darkest moments in the royal family's history.
If you're looking for a comedic take on the royal family, look no further than the British soap opera The Windsors. The goofy series reimagines the lives of the royal family in various over-the-top scenarios too ridiculous to even describe (at one point, the family engages in a Hunger Games-esque battle). Of course, this stuff didn't actually happen — so if you're looking for a more informative series, look elsewhere — but it's still hilarious to imagine that these ridiculous things really are going on behind closed doors.
Elizabeth at 90: A Family Tribute
Like Diana: 7 Days, Elizabeth at 90 is a TV movie, but it's too pure not to include on this list. The documentary served as a celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 90th birthday in April 2016, and it features exclusive interviews with the entire royal family as well as never-before-seen home videos of the Windsors. As the royals watch their personal videos, they provide commentary on the queen, both as a mother and grandmother and as a monarch. For fans of The Crown, Elizabeth at 90 will provide you with even more exposure to Queen Elizabeth and all the real-life comparisons your heart desires.