princess diana and john travolta dancing

The best Royal Family docs to watch

Are you a big fan of The Crown? Fascinated by the glamour, glitz and ritual of the royal family? Then you’ve come to the right place. Whether you love Diana or want to learn more about Queen Victoria, discover everything from family scandals to affairs, wars and deaths. Get the inside scoop on the royal family with the top royal family documentaries available to watch on TV or on demand right now.

OUR TOP PICK:  

The Fall of Anne Boleyn 

Channel 5, Starts Tuesday 24th November at 9pm  

anne boleyn looking out of window

 

This brand-new, three-episode series starts on Tuesday 24th November at 9pm on Channel 5. Through the series, historian Tracy Borman explores Anne Boleyn’s final days, hour by hour, starting on the day of her arrest in episode one.  

Episode two, Trial, will air on the following night at 9pm. This episode takes a closer look at Anne Boleyn’s trial in the Tower of London. Accused of adultery and treason, Tracy tries to find out if Anne had a fair hearing with help from papers in the National Archive.  

The final episode, Execution, will air at 9pm on Thursday 26th November on Channel 5. For the last episode in the series, Tracy looks back at the details of the day of Anne’s execution on Friday 19th May 1536. Discover how Anne hoped the King would save her at the last moment, and fascinating details about the unusual method of execution, as well as an intriguing discovery about the timeline of the day.  

Elizabeth and Margaret: Love & Loyalty 

5Select, Thursday 19th November at 9pm 

queen elizabeth and princess margaret

 

Explore the complex and often fraught relationship between the Queen and her younger sister, Princess Margaret. From Margaret sacrificing her first love to how the sisters shaped each other through their lives and the scandals which threatened their relationship, find out the real story behind the two very different royal sisters on 5Select on Thursday 19th November.  

Royal History’s Biggest Fibs with Lucy Worsley 

BBC Two, Fridays at 9pm 

lucy worsley in costume

 

Royal history never quite looks how it does in the history books. Join historian Lucy Worsley as she uncovers some of royal history’s biggest fibs and myths. From the Georgian Regency to the Russian Revolution, find out what really happened behind the propaganda and popular historical myths on Friday at 9pm on BBC Two. Missed the first few episodes? Catch up with Royal History’s Biggest Fibs on BBC iPlayer.  

Diana vs The Tabloids 

5Select, Thursday 26th November at 9pm 

picture of Diana from newspaper

 

Princess Diana became the most famous woman in the world and helped usher in a new age of the 24-hour news cycle. This documentary looks back at Diana’s complex relationship with the press and how the deals she made with them in exchange for privacy rapidly got out of control. The tabloids obsession with Diana would quickly turn dangerous, leading to her tragic death. Tune in to find out how this relationship between the princess and the press both kept her in the limelight and destroyed her life.  

George VI: The Accidental King 

Channel 5, Saturday 21st November at 8:45pm 

king george vi the accidental king

 

Thanks to the hit film The King’s Speech, many of us are familiar with how George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father, became king, despite being second in line. Find out the real story behind the film with this documentary on Channel 5. Uncover how a shy, stuttering boy who was bullied by his father became a national figure of stability and inspiration during WWII, despite not being born for the throne.  

Royal Murder Mysteries 

Yesterday, Saturdays at 10pm 

reenactment of the romanov family photo

 

With incredible power and riches at stake, sometimes the line to the throne turns deadly. Tune into Yesterday on Saturday nights at 10pm to explore some of history’s most suspicious royal deaths. From the mysterious death of King Ludwig of Bavaria in 1886 to the death of the Romanovs, discover some of royal history’s greatest conspiracies and murders.  

The Royal Family: Affairs and Infidelities 

Channel 5, Tuesday 23rd November at 10pm 

young prince charles and camilla parker-bowles by a tree

 

It’s no secret that the royal family has had more than its fair share of scandals, but in this documentary, discover the whole story behind some of the royal family’s biggest romantic scandals which threatened the monarchy itself. From the love triangle between Prince Charles, Princess Diana and Camilla Parker-Bowles to Sarah, Duchess of York, find out what really went on behind closed doors.  

The Last Days of Anne Boleyn 

BBC Four, Monday 23rd November at 10pm 

last days of anne boleyn

 

After a scandalous relationship which led to the split between England and the Catholic Church, Henry VIII’s second wife, Anne Boleyn, became the first British queen to be executed on Friday 19th May 1536. Join historical experts and historians including Philippa Gregory, David Starkey and Hilary Mantel as they try to uncover what drove Henry VIII to such extreme measures to have the wife he sacrificed so much for to be killed.  


Royal Documentaries on Netflix

 

OUR TOP PICK:  

The Story of Diana 

princess diana in tiara

 

Explore the exceptional life of Princess Diana in this personal and inspiring documentary. Featuring interviews with her brother and others who knew her best, this moving 2-part documentary traces her life from a lonely young girl to a fairytale bride, on to becoming a powerful, influential woman and covering her tragic and shocking death.  

The Royal House of Windsor 

For true fans of the royals, you won’t find a more comprehensive documentary than The Royal House of Windsor. This documentary series follows the royal dynasty over the last 100 years, exploring how the royals have adapted and survived to create the image of the royal family we know today. Catch it on Netflix.   

Diana: In Her Own Words 

diana in her own words

 

This ground-breaking documentary gave the beloved Princess Diana the chance to give her side of the story, offering a candid insight into the life and troubles of Diana. Featuring archival footage and heartfelt personal recordings from the princess herself, this documentary is a must-watch for Diana fans. Watch now on Netflix.  

Queen Victoria and her Nine Children 

queen victoria and her nine children

 

When her beloved husband Prince Albert suddenly died, the devastated queen went into mourning for the rest of her life. Hardened and bitter, she struggled to mourn, perform her royal duties and continue to raise her nine children. Discover more about the famous queen’s complex relationship with her many children with the use of letters, diary entries and archival evidence.  

The Queen Mother 

the queen mother

 

Through the scandal of the abdication, World War II and beyond, the Queen Mother was consistently seen as a symbol of stability – both popular and warm, but with an iron will. From dealing with her sudden role as queen to guiding her husband, and then daughter, to wear the crown, this documentary explores the Queen Mother’s life and how she forged a new path for herself after the death of her beloved husband Bertie.  

Diana: 7 Days That Shook the World 

prince charles with young prince william and harry

 

This documentary examines the immediate and painful aftermath after Princess Diana’s tragic death in Paris. From the public’s outcry of grief to the Queen’s slow response and the decision for the young Prince William and Prince Harry to walk behind their mother’s coffin, revisit the dramatic week leading up to Diana’s funeral.  

If you just can’t get enough documentaries, take a peek at our list of the top history documentaries on right now. While you're at it, why not sign up for our newsletter to be the first to hear about the latest telly scoops, what’s new and what to watch this week on Freesat.