Less pomp and circumstance will accompany King Charles III’s coronation than that of his mother, Queen Elizabeth II, as depicted in The Crown. Netflix’s royal drama gave viewers an inside look at the planning and pageantry of her coronation in 1953 in a season 1 episode.
With interest around the royals at possibly an all-time high, this may be the perfect time to finally watch (or re-watch) The Crown. It chronicles Queen Elizabeth II’s life from her wedding to Prince Philip through her ascension to the throne and coronation to her later years. The Crown season 6, the final chapter, will introduce the next generation in Prince William and Princess Kate.
In addition to The Crown, you can satiate your royal fever with other shows about queens, kings, emperors and aristocrats. Here are some of our favorites.
When Queen Elizabeth II became the longest reigning British monarch, she displaced her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. Like her descendent, Victoria (Jenna Coleman) began her reign as a young woman. So this ITV/PBS drama follows many of the same beats as The Crown, particularly Victoria’s marriage to a cousin, Prince Albert (Tom Hughes), and a close working relationship with the older prime minister, Lord Melbourne (Rufus Sewell).
Much like The Crown, Victoria delves into the political issues and events of the time, including the Anglo-Afghan War, the Irish potato famine and the rise of republicanism. Through it all, the queen struggles to balance her role as monarch with her role as a wife and mother. - Kelly Woo
Watch on Prime Video
Heavy is the head that wears the crown, and we see that take a toll on Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix series. Similar pressures afflict her many times great uncle, King Henry VIII — though in the case of some of his wives, we can say off with the head that wears the crown.
The Tudors also depicts royals as real people, flaws and all. But where Elizabeth is depicted as careful and steady, Henry (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) is charming but capricious. He’s got an outsized ego and libido, both of which drive him to make the radical, history-making decision to chuck his wife, Queen Catherine of Aragorn (Maria Doyle Kennedy) for the alluring Anne Boleyn (Natalie Dormer) in the hope that the latter will bear him a son. - KW
Watch on Prime Video
One of the underlying themes of The Crown is how the monarchy has adjusted — or hasn’t — to the changing eras. Downton Abbey, which takes place in the decades before The Crown, explores similar topics through the lens of the Crawley family, led by the Earl of Grantham, and the huge staff that maintains their estate — an Edwardian Upstairs/Downstairs.
Downton Abbey starts with the sinking of the Titanic — and with it, two of the presumptive heirs of Downton Abbey — and follows the family as they try to maintain its legacy and protect it from threats, both internal and external. In many ways, it’s sort of like Yellowstone, but with fewer horses and murders. The show ran for six seasons which aired on the BBC and PBS, and spawned two feature-length films. The entire cast is both charming and acerbic, most notably Maggie Smith as the Dowager Countess of Grantham, who has lines as biting as Queen Elizabeth’s corgis. - Mike Prospero
Both Queen Elizabeth II and Catherine the Great were discounted for the mere fact that they were women. Yet, both ruled for decades and ably oversaw great change to their nations. While both The Crown and The Great chronicle matriarchies, the latter takes a more comedic, satirical and anachronistic tone.
Elle Fanning is endearingly effervescent as the empress who could do so much good in the world if only her morally and personally awful husband, Peter (Nicholas Hoult), would get out of the way. Who run the world? It should definitely be girls. - KW
Watch on Hulu
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story
While Bridgerton’s Queen Charlotte is a consort, not the regent, she has a lot in common with Queen Elizabeth II. They’re both young women when they are crowned, marry for love to complicated men, bear children who become unruly adults and sometimes chafe at the strictures of royal life.
While Charlotte is a minor character in Bridgerton, she’s the star of her own spinoff. Teen Charlotte (India Amarteifio) is plucked from a minor German province to marry King George III of England (Corey Mylchreest). Being queen, however, is not all that it’s cracked up to be — much as her great-great-great-granddaughter will discover over a century later. Charlotte faces many challenges, most notably prejudice about the color of her skin. - KW
Watch on Netflix
The White Queen
In The Crown, Queen Elizabeth II frets about the future of the monarchy. But nearly 500 years before, her many-generations-past ancestors were fighting for their very existence. The White Queen is set against the backdrop of the Wars of the Roses, circa 1464. A battle over the English throne rages between two sides of the same royal family: the House of York and the House of Lancaster.
While the men take the field, it’s the women — Elizabeth Woodville (Rebecca Ferguson), Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) and Anne Neville (Faye Marsay) — whose maneuvers and schemes will ultimately decide what happens. Only through their efforts will a dynasty be born. - KW
Watch on Starz via Prime Video
A different (and differently spelled) royal Elisabeth takes the spotlight in this German historical drama. Its story of a young woman figuring out her new role will seem very familiar to fans of The Crown. At 16, Bavarian duchess Elisabeth von Wittelsbach (Devrim Lingnau) marries Emperor Franz Joseph of Austria (Philip Froissant) and is thrust into the viper pit that was the Habsburg family.
After moving to Vienna, she must learn to navigate complex court politics and her husband’s scheming relatives, including her antagonistic mother-in-law/aunt Sophie (Melika Foroutan) and ambitious brother-in-law Maximilian (Johannes Nussbaum). Royal families are the most dysfunctional kind. - KW
Watch on Netflix