princess diana and john travolta dancing

The best Royal Family docs to watch

It’s with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of HRH the Duke of Edinburgh today (09/04/21). We've rounded up some of the best Royal Family documentaries available now, and will be sure to update this article with dedicated tributes to the Prince’s remarkable life, as content becomes available.

OUR TOP PICK:  

The Queen Unseen 

ITV, Thursday 8th April at 9pm

young queen elizabeth II with home camera

 

For her reign, the Queen has been both a public figure, her face absolutely everywhere in our day to day lives (on money especially) and also incredibly private. She has both a public and private birthday, and despite the many scandals of the Royal family, she herself has kept schtum. Now, for the first time in 68 years, The Queen Unseen uncovers a glimpse of the real Queen with previously unseen home films, newly digitalised material from 116 countries she’s visited over the years and informal footage. Lift the mask and show the Queen as a mother, wife, farmer, animal-lover and even comedian to get an idea of who she really is. The Queen Unseen will also be available on ITV Hub. 


WATCH OUT FOR...

The Day Will and Kate Got Married 

ITV, Wednesday 7th April at 9pm

prince william and kate middleton wedding

 

The marriage of Prince William and Kate Middleton in April 2011 was one of the most-watched events in history. 10 years on from the momentous occasion, this documentary looks back at the wedding, as well as the couple’s courtship and married life since. Will also be available shortly after on ITV Hub.


The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess  

Available on ITV Hub 

diana panorama interview

 

Decades before the Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah, Harry’s mother, Princess Diana, gave a similar shocking, tell all interview which shook the Royal family to the core. The now infamous Panorama interview is still remembered today. Find out the true story behind the interview as friends of the princess describe the marital issues of the royal couple and events which pushed Diana to breaking point, and how the interview threw the monarchy into a constitutional crisis. Watch The Diana Interview: Revenge of a Princess now on ITV Hub.  


The Windsors: Inside the Royal Dynasty 

Channel 4, Starts Saturday 20th March at 8pm  

the windsors inside the royal dynasty

 

Another royal family documentary for Channel 4, this new series explores the history of the Windsors through the 20th and 21st centuries. Starting with the death of King George V and the abdication of Prince Edward when he chose love over the throne, this series shows how the royal family changed dramatically but has continued to endure despite scandals and numerous political crises.  


The Queen’s Lost Family 

4Seven, Thursdays at 7pm 

king george v and queen mary

 

Since the First World War, monarchies across Europe fell one by one, but against the odds, the Windsors have survived and even thrived. This new documentary tells the inside story of the royal family from the 1920s to the end of WWII and how they went from strength to strength through this turbulent time, becoming a symbol of hope for the nation.   


My Years with the Queen

Available on ITV Hub 

lady pamela hicks

 

In this one-off documentary, Lady Pamela Hicks, the daughter of Lord Mountbatten and great-great-great-granddaughter of Queen Victoria, cousin to Prince Philip and second cousin to the Queen, talks for the very first time about her life growing up within the Royal family and tells her memories of her relationship with the Queen.  


Britain’s Bloody Crown 

PBS America, Mondays at 11pm 

Examine some of the most infamous and brutal chapters of British history with the Wars of the Roses. Join historian Dan Jones as he explores whether Richard III could have really killed the sons of Edward IV, his own nephews. Richard III was known as an English hero who had shown constant loyalty to the crown as a great military leader, so what changed? Find out on PBS America on Monday 22nd March at 11pm, or watch the full season of Britain's Bloody Crown on My5 to uncover family politics and a complex struggle for power. 


 Lucy Worsley’s Royal Palace Secrets 

Streaming on BBC iPlayer

lucy worsley's royal palace secrets

 

The historian goes behind closed doors at three treasure-filled royal palaces to uncover how each building has shaped a monarchy and a nation. With exclusive access to the palaces' most secret places, she uncovers the dramatic events that changed the course of British history, from might and intimidation at the Tower of London and the rise and fall of absolute monarchy at Hampton Court, to the modern face of royalty at Kensington Palace.


The Fall of Anne Boleyn 

Available on My5

anne boleyn looking out of window

 

This three-episode series is back on 5Select. 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 immediately after at 10pm to take 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, follows at 11pm. 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. Watch now on My5.  


Paul Burrell: Royal Service, Scandal and Celebrity 

Available on My5

paul burrell and princess diana

 

Princess Diana’s former butler, Paul Burrell, became a household name when he stood trial for supposedly stealing items belonging to the Princess of Wales, for which he was cleared. He then went on to reveal many secrets about his relationship with Diana in his tell-all book, A Royal Duty. This new documentary explores the rise of Burrell from those who knew him best. 

Plus, every Saturday make sure you tune into Channel 5 at 9pm for new royal family themed documentaries. 


Royal Murder Mysteries 

Available on UKTV Play 

reenactment of the romanov family photo

 

With incredible power and riches at stake, sometimes the line to the throne turns deadly. Watch on UKTV Play 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. 


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.   


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 and follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to be the first to hear about the latest telly scoops, what’s new and what to watch this week on Freesat.