The Royal House of Windsor (2017)

5 Royal Kernels

Now streaming on Netflix and more recently aired on PBS, is The Royal House of Windsor, a six-part documentary about the royal family. I have to say that this is one of the best tell-alls that I have viewed. The episodes are:

  • Adapt of Die
  • Love & Duty
  • Enter the Outsider
  • Shadow of a King
  • Fire, Feud, and Fury
  • The Top Job

It isn’t a tabloid-type look into the family, but rather a good historical accounting of facts. Starting with the Royal Family during WWI, it goes through WWII era, Prince Philip’s struggles, Charles and Diana, the turbulent marriage and divorce, and the children, and Prince Charles’ imprint on the monarchy and his views. Its insights into their personal lives, such as their upbringing and values, add to the intrigue of the series. It’s an eclectic group of individuals from traditionalists to liberals, making their way through love and duty.

If you’re into the English royal family, I high recommend this informative and well-done show that will give you a deeper understanding of what makes its various members tick. Long live the Queen.

How Are Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Related? | POPSUGAR Celebrity

“Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip’s nearly 69-year marriage has been the subject of such speculation that their early days as a couple have been turned into a new Netflix series, The Crown.  Although most people know the basics about how the royal couple fell in love, there’s a surprising, little-known tidbit that we sometimes forget: Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh are cousins.”

Read More at the Source: How Are Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip Related? | POPSUGAR Celebrity

The Crown (Netflix 2016 – Review)


Monarchy is God’s sacred mission to grace and dignify the earth, to give ordinary people an ideal to strive towards, an example of nobility and duty to raise them in their wretched lives.”

(Quote from The Crown – Queen Mary)

5 Kernels

Yes, as one article stated in The Guardian, the Americans will be highly fascinated over Netflix’s new series – The Crown.  We will eat it up like candy amidst our 2016 election sours, which has given most of us nausea over the thought of who will win on either side of the ticket (I’m staying neutral on this topic). Perhaps it will make us miss the good ‘ole days of being a colony under the British empire, wishing for all the beauty, jewels, and pomp and circumstance compared to our current affairs of mud-slinging politicians vying for the office.  Of course, that’s not to say that the British empire hasn’t had its own share of scandals on the green side of Parliament during elections. Somehow, though, it doesn’t sound so bad when you call your opponent corrupt while using a British accent.

Nevertheless, I flipped the switch on Netflix last night and sat my derriere down to watch the first five episodes after a boring day’s work.  Today, I watched the remaining episodes. I’m sure my stomach fat increased, according to the latest research (Read Here). Regardless of being harmful to my health, I glued myself through hours of television, stuffing my mouth with food and occasionally crying like a baby.  (I have been watching too many period dramas of late and it has wreaked havoc on my emotions.)

The Crown is unique and deeply entrenched into the meaning of the monarchy and rightfully focuses upon the meaning of its title.  The crown is merely not a bejeweled head ornament that a monarch wears, it is an ancient belief that whosoever wears it has been ordained and anointed by God. Throughout the production, the crown takes precedence over one’s private life, whether it be the monarch or the family.  Anyone who strays from its innate purpose places the monarchy at risk.

Netflix has done a stellar job in all aspects of this production from the authenticity of the times to the costumes, settings, and trappings of the royals.  Even though they spared no expense, they have not left its audience with fluffy cotton candy.  On the contrary, they have presented a well acted, well written, and not to mention educational peek into the House of Windsor post-World War II.  Each character, from the staff to the queen plays their roles meticulously well.  If I were a fortune teller, I would say that a few Emmy’s will definitely be forthcoming.

Claire Foy must have spent hours studying the mannerisms and voice inflections of Queen Elizabeth as her portrayal is uncanny. John Lithgow has reincarnated Winston Churchill (if he doesn’t get an Emmy for his performance, I’m going to be extremely disappointed).  Matt Smith does an interesting portrayal of Prince Philip.  He looks very much like the young prince.  I don’t think there is a performance in the entire cast that I can find fault, from Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margret, Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary, Victorian Hamilton as the Queen Mother, Ben Miles as Peter Townsend, Jared Harris as King George VI, and many others including Jeremy Northam.

The first few episodes are emotionally charged and quickly engulf the audience into the younger years of Elizabeth and her father who is falling ill.  The early episodes, up to Elizabeth’s coronation, had me glued to the television set.  In fact, my cat jumped on my lap, and a few hours later, I finally realized he was there.  The other episodes walk the audience through historical events, which definitely sent me to Google to check if they were true.  Finally, toward the end of the series, it’s the continual struggle of love and duty, which is the resounding theme that underlies much of the story.

A few of the historical points covered are:

  • Edward VIII’s abdication and his love for Wallis Simpson is a focus of early episodes. His continued ill treatment for having given up the crown and the shunning of his wife takes a different slant. Much of the family’s disdain comes from their own lips, but quite a bit of Edward’s own bitterness is center stage and vocal.  Unwelcome at Elizabeth’s coronation, his recitation to his house guests while watching it live on television, regarding the symbolism behind the coronation, is fascinating. I never realized us “mere mortals” couldn’t watch certain aspects of the divine unfolding.
  • Winston Churchill’s role as prime minister in his later years is another large focal point. Frankly, it had me hitting Google a few times afterward to check the timeline, as well as his artwork and the famous portrait commissioned for him on his 80th birthday.  And yes, what his wife did to it was apparently true.
  • The episode called, “Act of God,” is an incident that I had never heard about regarding the great smog of 1952 where London fell victim to fog/pollution trapped in the city.  Apparently, it resulted in thousands of people dying from inhaling the airborne pollutants.
  • The exhausting world tour that Elizabeth and Philip embarked upon in the 1950’s (sorry, I must have been only three years old, so I missed that news).
  • The love affair between Princess Margaret and Peter Townsend.  One can only wonder what her reaction would be today if she knew how many of her family members have since divorced and remarried. It only goes to prove that the ancient traditions can soften and change.
  • The Queen’s love of horses, not to mention her Corgi dogs underfoot.
  • The Queen Mother purchasing a castle in Scotland.
  • The surprising revelation that Elizabeth received very little formal education beyond the how-to of being a lady and understanding the constitution.

Of course, intertwined behind the public episodes, are the private lives of the royals and their staff. It’s interesting to watch Elizabeth grow into her role as queen and embrace the crown. Unfortunately, loyalty and duty, of course, have a price as the story tells of its straining relationships between Philip, her mother, and sister.   Whether the marital tension between Elizabeth and Philip is factual, I have no idea.  However, one can only wonder what it does to a man’s ego to kneel before his wife and swear allegiance. Both Philip and Margaret struggle to find purpose in the shadow of Elizabeth.

Yes, some of it does degrade into a soap-opera type mentality but it’s tolerable.  I thought the series started strong at 5-kernel bravo review for the first five episodes, but six through ten are much more cloistered and focused upon their private lives, slipping my kernel take down to 4.


Regardless, this undertaking by Netflix is well worth the watch.  The only criticism I can muster about the series is that the cinematography is sometimes murky and dark, especially in the large rooms with dull lighting.  They almost look smoky in appearance and unclear. Whether that was an honest attempt to portray the royal residences, I’m unsure, but I found it a distracting and disappointing that I hadn’t a clearer picture of the opulence.

As far as the music, leave it up to Hans Zimmer to stir the audiences’ emotions with his wonderful soundtrack.  Below is the official intro at the beginning of each episode.  The visual effect of silver molding into a crown with Hans Zimmer’s score gave me shivers.

If anything, after you watch this series, I think it will give you a better understanding of the monarchy and its inherent meaning, whether or not you agree with that form of government.  Nevertheless, in November of 2016, it certainly was a breath of fresh air for this American, which helped to raise my current wretched existence living through the presidential election.

Bravo Netflix!  When does Series 2 start?  My popcorn is popped.

The Crown: everything you need to know about Netflix’s £100 million series about the Queen’s reign


“The success of Downton Abbey across the Atlantic proved that American audiences are suckers for a British period drama. Which helps to explain why Netflix, the US video-on-demand service, is staking £100 million on a series about the Queen – from the early years of her reign through to the present day.”

 Looks like a great cast, including one of my favorites – Jeremy Northam.

Source: The Crown: everything you need to know about Netflix’s £100 million series about the Queen’s reign

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (Movie 2007)

ElizabethGolden4 Kernels

I did not write a review of “Elizabeth” released in 1998, starring Cate Blanchette. Needless to say, it is another favorite and at least a 4 Kernel watch that focuses on her rise to the throne after the death of her half-sister Mary.

It’s hard to believe that I have walked by her grave in West Minister Abbey and stood where she is buried. I’ve literally stood on top of her father’s remains, Henry VIII.  These are memorable visits but watching movies like these brings to life characters that are literally bones underneath the granite in which they are buried. History indeed that leaves us in awe.

Currently streaming on Netflix is “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.” Since I’m hibernating indoors due to 100+ degree weather this weekend, I have been overdosing on films and television series.  While surfing this morning and stumbling up upon this treasure, I cooked my morning eggs, bacon, and toast. Nothing like 8:00 a.m. in the morning sitting on your green recliner with freshy brewed coffee, food, and a movie to enjoy.  Yes, a bit pathetic, I know.

Nevertheless, I enjoyed the first Elizabeth film. Now we are ushered into another dramatized era entitled, “Elizabeth: The Golden Age.”  I will admit that I can enjoy a movie that has not received good reviews from critics or the audience for that matter. Of course, our tastes in entertainment and what floats our boat (or TV remote in this case) varies as much as our individual personalities.  Apparently, this is the case.

I read Roger Ebert’s review. He thought that the splendor, costumes, sets, and music were too sumptuous and weighed down the movie, distracting from the characters.  What hindered Ebert from his enjoyment of this film, frankly enthralled me to no end. The sumptuousness of this version is what I enjoyed. I do not think that it detracts from Cate Blanchett in her portrayal as Elizabeth. Elizabeth in her own right is a complex character underneath her beautiful costume dresses, and the story is mostly focused on her struggles of remaining a powerful monarch, whose throne and life are under constant threat, yet struggling with the human need for love. This indeed is a Golden Age of her reign, which I think was the purpose behind all the sumptuous sets, etc.  I loved the soundtrack as well.

The only negative, of course, is that Geoffrey Rush is back as Sir Francis Walsingham, protecting Elizabeth1the queen, and torturing traitors left and right. Those scenes for me are the fast forwards or close your eyes and plug your ears moment. As you probably can tell from previous reviews, violence is not my forte.  Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that torture happened and gruesome deaths awaited many of the main characters who played in history of ages past.  Even Sir Walter Raleigh eventually lost his head after the Queen died and his favor at court lessened.

Yes, I like this movie and all of its golden glory. Some of the best scenes are, of course, Elizabeth on her white horse and dressed in armor urging on her troops as the Spanish Armada approaches their coasts. Among all of these historical moments, I always find the religious aspect interesting, as well as each side prays to God for the victory believing it is heaven’s will for them to win.  Movies like these lead me to Wikipedia so I can read and learn the historical truth of these characters that lived and reigned in England.

Nevertheless, Netflix is bombarding us with new releases well worth the watch, plus every Disney movie imaginable come September.  It makes me wonder if the price of our subscription will rise, but it’s still a lot cheaper than $9.50 ticket at the show and $12.00 a small popcorn and drink for one showing. Nothing like watching a hundred episodes on Netflix for less in one month.