The Royal Family - reviews from a Royalist

Monday, August 23, 2010
Every now and then I hear talk of republicanism, here in New Zealand and in Australia. Cutting the strings from Great Britain. Losing the Queen. Losing the royal family. Just stop for a minute and think about what that would mean.

Call me a romantic but I love having a Queen. I love having a royal family. I am thrilled by the tradition and the pomp and circumstance, the palaces and the castles and the fashion and the fascinating history of our royal family. Not to mention the sheer entertainment they provide from time to time.
I am proud to belong to the British Empire. And I'm glad that our 'colonies' are still part of that realm.

Whatever you think of the royals, you have to admit that they provide romance. Imagine how very boring it would be to lose that. I happen to like our current primeminister, but he doesn't thrill me in the same way that the Queen does, you know what I mean? Imagine what it would be to lose something that has been an important part of our history.  One of the things that I particularly love is that we have living, breathing direct descendants of such colourful royals as King Henry VIII and Charles I and Queen Victoria. They are all a mix of the good and the bad. The sad and the happy. The triumphant and the tragic - all played out before us in the history books and represented in our own modern royal family.

What got me thinking so much about the monarchy was a dvd that I picked up at the library last week.

I grew up with the belief (mostly heard from my grandmothers) that Wallis was a wicked, immoral woman who destroyed a good King and deprived the British commonwealth of a beloved and popular monarch on the brink of war. Watching this movie changed my opinion of her. Joely Richardson is supurb as Wallis - she is really a wonderful actress - she made this movie great. The storyline was in favour of Wallis. It gave the impression that she was an abandoned, unfortunate woman whose spunk and lack of reverence won her the heart of the King and that circumstances beyond her control contrived to write history the way that we now know it.

Let me just say here how I find it intriguing that so many of the royals in the midst of the stuffiness and tradition and oppression of royal life seem to have this very great ability for love.

Seeing Wallis and Edward got me interested in this old, unhappy story. So I searched out other movies, and found  Bertie and Elizabeth on youtube. I think this particular version must have been made for the American market as they have this short introduction to explain who they are and the confusing names that are given to ruling kings.

I enjoyed this movie even more than Wallis and Edward. It starts with the romance of Prince Albert, the second son of Queen Mary and King George V (a second son himself), and Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. And progresses through the abdication of Edward VIII and the succession to the throne of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, and his subsequent early death after WWII. And here again I find myself swinging back to my old prejudices towards Wallis. Only this time it includes the former king - in a less favourable way. It shows Edward VIII - now known as the Duke of Windsor to be a selfish, stubborn man, full of his own lusts and lack of genuine care and concern for his empire and the people that he governed over.

I loved the story of Bertie and Elizabeth - well known to most of us, but bought alive with the magic of movie-making. It left me with a feeling of gratefulness that God intervened in our history and allowed this good man and this good woman to become the ruling monarchs at a time when the world was plunged into chaos. How different might history be if they had not come to the throne? We will never know, I guess.

When I had finished watching it, I saw in the side bar of youtube a documentary titled,

Edward VIII The Traitor King

How intriguing! Of course, I had to watch it.

Once again, my senses were plunged into a differing view. This one took a different tack altogether. This extensive documentary, made in 1995 suggests that the King wasn't forced from the throne because he wanted to marry a twice-divorced American, but because he was a Nazi sympathiser and in danger of jeopardising Great Britain's position in the second world war. It is well documented and presented and leaves no doubt in your mind whatsoever that the Duke of Windsor took some very great liberties during this perilous time, and that Winston Churchill was on the brink of court-marshalling him several times, but to protect the current ruling monarchy his hands were tied.

If the history of the royal family interests you, I recommend all three of these movies. Didn't I say that a good deal of entertaiment, mystery and romance would be lost if we gave up the monarchy?

I hope we don't.

1 comment :

momentsofwhimsy said...

I liked the Bertie and Elizabeth film, but will have to have a look at the last one you recommended. Am I'm with you girl on this issue. I love having a sense of heritage and history, and of being part of something bigger than just little ol' NZ or Oz.

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