Thursday, November 26, 2009

Edward The King

Also knowns as : Edward VII  and The Royal Victorians

Edward The King is a 1975 TV drama series with 1 hour long episodes (13). It is based on the biography of Edward VII by Philip Magnus. Although the show focuses on Edward VII life, it doesn't put to much emphasis on his reign.

Timothy West as Edward VII
Annette Crosbie as Queen Victoria
Helen Ryan as Queen Alexandra

Annette Crosbie won a BAFTA award for her performance in the show.

The series starts with the first few years of Queen Victoria's and Prince Albert's marriage with Victoria discovering that she was pregnant. Now we all know that Queen Victoria hated being pregnant and of course we see her take out her anger on Albert. Then, Victoria gives birth to Prince Albert Edward. When Victoria (the princess Royal) is ill, this stirs up conflict between Prince Albert and Baroness Lehzen which results in Lehzen's retirement back to Germany. The second episode shows the home life of the royal family. Albert Edward (Bertie) is shown is his early years of stress of over exertions in the study room. The Princess Royal becomes engaged (eventually marrying) Prince Frederick of Prussia. Queen Victoria gets overly jealous of her daughter when Prince Albert lavishes his attention on her to help her prepare for new duties as a Princess of Prussia and eventually Empress of Germany. Bertie soon enters into the military and on trip to the Americas. While in the military, Bertie made some louche friends and they send him into a series of vices from smoking and drinking to his one nighter with the actress, Nellie Clifton. When his father discovers this, he immediately goes to Cambridge (in horrible weather) to chastise his son. From over work and worry, Prince Albert dies on December 14, 1861.

The next season is based on Bertie's marriage to the Danish Princess, Alexandra. Their relationship is hard because of Bertie infidelities but in the end Alexandra summed up their relationship by saying "he loved me best". It shows them through troubling times such as Alexandra outright refusal to see the Kaiser Wilhelm I as the death of Albert Victor It also has snippets from the lives of other royals connected to Britain's Royal Family such as Maria Feodorvna (Alexandra's younger sister) and her husband Alexander III or Russia etc.
After the death of Queen Victoria and Albert ascension (taking on the name Edward VII saying that "his father was sacred and that there should only ever be ONE Albert") we see him earning the title of "Peace Maker of Europe" most notably through being able to control his nephew, William II of Prussia. While trying to create better conditions for the poor Edward fell prey to his already bad bronchitis (most likely from smoking too much). On April 28, he suffered from several heart attacks and was clear to everyone that he was dying. When his son, George, came to tell his father that one of his horses had won a race, he said "I'm very glad" and then died (May 6, 1910).        
 I give this TV drama a 4/5.  I particularly loved Annette Crosbie in Edward The King. I think it is her best work yet! I found that Helen Ryan made a superb and beautiful Alexandra. I'll love the story line and the costumes were superb! I liked this series because it gave us an in depth look into the royal family without showing what happened outside in the world. I really enjoyed this series and would suggest it to all!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Bertie & Elizabeth

 Bertie & Elizabeth is a 2002 television film produced by Carlton Television. This film is about the lives of George VI (Bertie) and his wife, Queen Elizabeth from their first meeting to George's untimely death.

      James Wilby as King George VI
      Juliet Aubrey as Queen Elizabeth

The Movie begins with Bertie's & Elizabeth's first meeting. Which follows with the courtship and marriage. After Edward VIII's abdication, Bertie is made King George VI. Bertie at first is still very inexperienced but by the end of the movie, he is seen as the 'People's King', the very symbol of the monarchy. The movie also shows the lives of the couple during World War II.  When the war is over, the movie shows Queen Elizabeth II to Prince Philip of Greece. The movie ends with George's illness that eventually led to his death.

I give this movie a 2/5. I found it very short (although I later found out that it was 2 hours long). It wasn't that special. It was a little boring really. The acting wasn't that good. I REALLY DIDN'T ENJOY THIS. Some people might but I am not one of those peoples. I would not recommend this to the viewers.  

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Sisters That Would Be Queen [Mary, Catherine and Lady Jane Grey : A Tudor Tragedy]

The Sisters Who Would Be Queen [Mary, Catherine and Lady Jane Grey : A Tudor Tragedy] is a  2009 book written my Leanda de Lisle.

The Book is about the lives of the three Grey sisters, Jane, Catherine and Mary. Although most people only know about Jane, her sisters also lead very interesting lives.
The First part focusing about Lady Jane Grey/Dudley. Lady Jane Grey was the daughter of Frances Brandon and Henry Grey. She was the grandniece of Henry VIII through her grandmother, Mary Tudor Queen of France. Jane was rather small for her age but she was said to be very intelligent and staunchly Protestant. Duke Northumberland, John Dudley, the Lord Protector, designed a plan that after the death of Edward VI instead of the crown passing to the Lady Mary (who was Catholic and Dudley feared that Mary would try to bring the country back to Catholicism but if he skipped her he'd have to skip the Protestant) and Elizabeth because of their illegitimacy but to the next in line, Lady Jane Grey. He quickly married his son, Guilford, to her as a way of keeping power. When Edward VI died, he proclaimed Jane the new Queen. The people of England thought that the Lady Mary was the rightful Queen so the revolted only after 9 days of Queen Jane's reign. Originally, Queen Mary thought of granting a pardon for Jane and her husband but when a revolt that may have had the intentions of bringing Jane back on the throne, Mary signed her Death warrant. Jane Dudley was beheaded February 12, 1554.

Part Two focuses on Lady Catherine & Lady Mary Grey. Lady Catherine the middle child was born on August 25, 1540. Catherine was wed to was first wed Henry Herbert in a double wedding with her elder sister, Jane, on May 21, 1553. But after the fall of the Grey family, Herbert had his marriage with Catherine annulled. Catherine later wed Edward Seymour sometime in 1560 but she did not have Queen Elizabeth's approval which would later prove disastrous. Catherine hid the secret of her marriage for sometime even after she became pregnant. She pleaded with Robert Dudley but he sent her away and the next day he told the Queen. The Queen, angered by the news, sent Catherine to the Tower of London, her husband joined her after he had finished his studies in France. Catherine bore 2 children  (both born in the tower), Edward & Thomas. In 1562, the marriage between Catherine Grey and Edward Seymour was declared annulled. Catherine was moved to Cockfield, Oxford. She died on January 16 1568 of consumption.

Mary Grey was the youngest and also the smallest. She was said to be a dwarf with a hunchback and 'very ugly'. Mary was placed under house arrest in 1565 for having married Thomas Keys without permission of the Queen (the same as her sister). After Keys death in 1572, she was released and occasionally allowed to visit court. Mary died childless, aged 33.

I give this book a 3/5 I liked this segment because if doesn't antagonize Frances and Henry Grey. In the Tudor Era, what Frances and Henry did to their children was not so uncommon.  Personally, I decided to listen to the audio book rather than to read it to save me the trouble. I really disliked the reader, maybe it's because I'm used to things in my way such as the way she said Jousting she pronounced it as JOO-sting like I say it as JOW-sting. Indeed I think some of the books possibly ratings were deducted because of this. The book itself was fine. There was VERY good detail on Mary and Catherine's life but seeing as the book as joined with Jane's life (whose life would have made a better book on it's own), which was rather a general outlook than a detailed one. If you are looking for a book on Jane Grey, I suggest you read a more thorough book on her life than this. But if you would like an in-depth look on the two forgotten Grey sisters this book is a great help.