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5 Royal Films to Watch If You Love The Crown

Once you’ve finished the latest season of the acclaimed series, satiate your hunger for royals content with these outstanding movies.


A collage of characters from royal period films
Courtesy of Youtube. Collage by Ashley Peña

On Wednesday, November 9, the long-anticipated fifth season of The Crown finally hit Netflix. In the two years since The Crown released its fourth season—which depicted Princess Diana’s early years in her marriage to King Charles III and catapulted Emma Corrin to fame—much has played out in real life among the royal family. Queen Elizabeth II passed away in September this year, while Prince Harry and Meghan Markle made their official break from The Firm in pursuit of personal projects (Markle, notably, was on the cover of two magazines to promote her Archetypes podcast, in addition to sitting down for an intimate interview with Oprah in 2021). But this season has plenty to cover from the royals’ turbulent ’90s: the infamous fire at Windsor Castle and Charles and Diana’s rocky marriage—not to mention all things Princess Di (her bombshell interview with Martin Bashir, her alleged relationship with Dodi Fayed, and her untimely death among them).

But all this lore barely scratches the surface when it comes to centuries of tumult within the royal family. And there are scores of films that have chronicled the individual events that have taken place within the halls of Buckingham Palace. Below, we’ve put together a list of five outstanding movies that not only encapsulate the drama and intrigue of life as a royal, but they also feature standout performances from top-notch actors. Even if you aren’t among the millions of rabid fans of The Crown, these royalty-focused films are worth a watch.

Elizabeth

This 1998 critically (and commercially) acclaimed film starring Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth I is a can’t-miss work of art. Blanchett portrays the so-called Virgin Queen’s early years of her reign, when she ascended the throne following the death of her half-sister Mary I, who had imprisoned her. Directed by Shekhar Kapur and written by Michael Hirst, the movie received seven Oscar nominations that year (Blanchett won a Best Actress Golden Globe for her role) and was so popular, it spawned a follow-up film, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which covered the later part of Elizabeth’s reign. But the original is a classic for good reason. Not only is Blanchett incredible, the costumes and makeup are second to none.

Watch it on Hulu.

Spencer

To embody Princess Diana in the Pablo Larraín film Spencer, Kristen Stewart leaned fully into the late royal’s idiosyncratic and rebellious spirit. That approach to getting into character makes the harrowing psychological thriller—which contains elements of a horror film in addition to stellar costumes provided by Chanel’s archive—one-of-a-kind. The plot zeroes in on an imagined three-day period during Christmas 1991, when Princess Di experiences an existential breakdown—an unconventional approach to storytelling that rocked viewers and critics alike in 2021. “I really tried to pummel myself into the ground on this one,” Stewart told W of the film earlier this year. “I definitely attribute that to this spooky transference, her energy, who she was. It was unstoppable.”

Watch it on Hulu.

The Favourite

Only Yorgos Lanthimos could dream up such a fanciful, dark, and hilarious film like The Favourite. Released in 2018, the movie examines a number of fraught relationships between royal and royal-adjacent friends and family—specifically, cousins Sarah Churchill, Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), and Abigail Masham (Emma Stone) both of whom are vying to be the court favorite of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). A true ensemble black comedy, The Favourite received 10 Oscar nods, tying with Roma for the most nominations of any film at that year’s ceremony. Don’t miss it if you haven’t seen it already—and if you have, it’s absolutely worth a rewatch.

Watch it on Amazon Prime.

The King’s Speech

Another film worthy of a rewatch (but for completely different reasons), The King’s Speech is a heartwarming and triumphant look at King George VI, who ruled the United Kingdom from 1895 to 1952. Played by Colin Firth, the former King—who coped with a stutter all his life—is set to make his first radio broadcast to announce Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in 1939. He employs Lionel Logue, an Australian speech therapist played by Geoffrey Rush, to help him get the oration in order. The pair’s touching relationship and the portrayal of George VI’s internal and external struggles renders this a beautifully done project. And Helena Bonham Carter, who plays Queen Elizabeth, is absolutely incredible.

Watch it on Amazon Prime.

The Queen

Helen Mirren portraying Queen Elizabeth II in the weeks immediately after the death of Princess Diana. Need we say more?

Watch it on Hulu.