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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

'The Royals' DVD: Regally Entertaining Six-Part Look at the Windsors

The Royals DVD
This series of reviews of  the wonderful line of June 2014 DVD releases of exceptional British television fare from BFS Entertainment aptly winds up with a post on "The Royals."

This six-part three-disc behind-the scenes look has Diana biographer Andrew Morton and a cast of 1,000s, which includes paparazzi and royal historians, discuss the triumphs and low-points of the Windsors.

The thing that makes this series smashing is that it provides fascinating depth. Most of us on both sides of the pond know roughly 75 percent of the presented incidents, but few of us know much about the reasons for them. 

Each episode covers a single subject. The range of these topics spans from royal weddings to royal pets. Other topics include royal funerals and babies. (It is presumed that Prince George gets plenty of attention.)

The series open with "Royal Weddings" and provides the nuptials of William and Kate as the inspiration for both this episode (and seemingly the entire project.) Especially interesting segments comment on the breaks with tradition that commence with the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. Insights include Victoria wearing a white wedding gown for a reason other than the obvious one.

Other covered wedding ceremonies includes those of the current queen and the queen mother, who clearly enjoyed the fashion of the period in which she tied the Windsor knot. 

Predictably, the Charles and Diana story receives a great deal of attention. The tidbits include reasons for their engagement and wedding being so celebrated and the extent to which Charles demonstrates insensitivity regarding his relationship with (current wife) Camilla Parker Bowles. 

The Camilla Parker Bowles story also receives coverage in the "Royal Scandals" episode. The scope of this one also dates back to the Victorian era and partially attributes the decline of discretion regarding bad behavior to the rise of the media, which also plays an obvious role in modern scandals. Surprisingly, the story of Prince Andrew and Koo Stark (who was still up to no good at least as of last year) does not make the cut.

The most satisfying segment in this episode relates to a documentary on the everyday life of the royals failing because the subjects come across as an ordinary family. This portion includes great footage of the clan sitting down for a seemingly ordinary breakfast.

This crude colonist confessions confesses to using his iPad to search for uncensored photos of Kate Middleton and Harry in response to discussions of their being caught in compromising positions. It seems that the level of indiscretion regarding these two is still limited to the well-known blurred images of the future queen and the pics of his nibs cupping his cue stick and related equipment. Her Majesty may not be amused, but the rest of us certainly are.

The series wraps up with segments on "Royal Pets" and "Royal Babies." Commentary during the former that England established an organization to protect animals from abuse 50 years before doing the same regarding children reflects that only the episode on the non-humans was watched for this review.

Of course, the royal corgis are a primary focus of the episode on that class of beloved royal companions. The provided information offers some insight regarding the extent to which these dogs are pampered and will help alleviate guilt among audience members who are embarrassed to admit to buying their canines sweaters and spending $100 or more on elaborate kitty kondos.

Other topics include the wide range of exotic animals that once roamed free in and about the Tower of London and the high regard that ravens continue receiving today.

The insight regarding "The Royals" as a whole is that the insights, beautiful photography, great archival images, and humor make it a great choice for learning more about a family that makes headlines merely for attending a sporting event.

Anyone with questions or comments regarding "The Royals" is very welcome to email me; you can also connect on Twitter via @tvdvdguy.