Fall of Eagles (1974)

Four best Royal classic films

Fall of Eagles (1974)

13-part BBC miniseries taking a somewhat extensive look at the events leading up to the World War I era fall of some European dynasties, the series begins in England, showing the marriage of Princess Vicky, the oldest child of Victoria and Albert.

The fortunes of Vicky and her descents, including son Kaiser Wilhelm, play a vital role. Vicky’s niece and Queen Victoria’s granddaughter, Czarina Alexandra of Russia and the imperial royal family becomes the dominant feature of the production.

Mrs. Brown (1997)

This feature film stars Judi Dench as the widowed Queen Victoria and Billy Connolly as her Scottish servant John Brown.

Grieving the unexpectedly early death of her husband, Queen Victoria begins a close relationship to their trusted chief servant. Her growing reliance on John Brown comes to be questioned by many, including the heir to her throne, her eldest son, Edward.

Edward the Seventh or Edward the King (1975)

The 13-part miniseries catalogs the entire life of Edward VII from his difficult childhood as the eldest son of Queen Victoria to his death.

Although an entertaining and well executed production featuring many well-known British actors including, Timothy West, Annette Crosbie, Felicity Kendal, Michael Hordern, Jane Lapotaire, and John Gielgud, the production is obviously biased, tilting facts to favor a sympathetic portrayal of Edward.

Edward VII is more accurately portrayed in miniseries such as Jennie, Lady Randolph Churchill (1974) and Lillie (1978). He is fictionally depicted in period TV series such as Upstairs, Downstairs (1971-1975) and The Duchess of Duke Street (1976-1977).

Edward and Mrs. Simpson (1978)

This highly acclaimed ITV miniseries depicts the events leading up to the 1936 abdication of Prince John’s older brother, the uncrowned Edward VIII, who was the eldest son of George V and his wife Mary. Considered a glamorous movie star-like prince with promising ability, Edward controversially renounced the throne to marry the twice divorced Mrs. Simpson.

Edward VIII and Wallis Simpson are flawlessly portrayed by Edward Fox and Cynthia Harris, and the production takes great pains to be as historically accurate as possible, using documents and interviews for the foundation of the script and even filming on location. Most impressively, the series presents several points of view about the abdication crisis, allowing the audience to draw their own conclusions about motivation and outcome.

The story of Edward VIII and Mrs. Simpson was also portrayed in The Woman He Loved (1988). This made-for-television movie, starring Jane Seymour as Wallis Simpson, approached the abdication crisis solely as a tragic love story. The saving graces of the poor production were the performances of Anthony Andrews as Edward VIII and Olivia de Havilland as Wallis’ mother-figure, Aunt Bessie.

Wallis & Edward (2005), starring Joely Richardson as Mrs. Simpson was another made-for-television movie to attempt to tell the story of the abdication from the possible view of Wallis Simpson.