The Windsors: From George to Kate is a documentary looking at the reigning house of the British monarchy. This documentary takes a look at the monarchy starting from the rain of George V until current times with Elizabeth II and her family. Using archival film footage and still photography combined with connecting narration, this documentary gives an overview of the who, what, and why from the House of Windsor.
Being a documentary focusing on the most current monarchy, the timeline falls during times when film and photography were in wide usage. Footage as far back as the thirties was used for this documentary. The footage, while showing its age, is clear and beautiful. Along with the original footage, the original audio recordings that went along with the broadcasts are included in this documentary. This aspect is particularly interesting. Not only are we able to see the events but also get a glimpse into how the British people felt during the events, through the language and voice of the narrator. There is a distinct difference in the tone of the audio from the footage of the coronations and the funerals. In addition to the news audio, there is also footage from succession proclamations being made in the street. Having been sixty years since this has happened, this is the first time many people will be able to see that aspect of the British monarchy protocol.
The Windsors: From George to Kate covers almost one hundred years of the monarchy. Because of this, there are not extensive looks at particular events apart from the basics. At times it is felt like some events were glossed over. It becomes obvious that there is a reason for this. So much of the archived footage is used in its entirety and this seems to be given priority. Quickly I felt this was the right way for the filmmakers to put this documentary together. The use of the archived footage and photography helped this documentary stand out from others that have been made about the same subject.
Some of the events that were covered by the archival footage and stills are the Silver Jubilee of King George V (1935), King George V funeral (1936), the coronations of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (1937) and their daughter Elizabeth II (1953); the weddings of many of the royal family including Princess Elizabeth and Prince Phillip (1947), Prince Charles and Lady Diana Spencer (1981), and current footage from the engagement announcement of Prince William and Catherine Middleton (2010).
Bonus clips include a highlight real from the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, footage of King George VI; the person who is the subject of the 2011 film The King’s Speech, and biographies of select Windsors. There is also a sixteen page viewer’s guide along with the DVD. This guide includes the Windsor family tree, articles about royal titles and last names, coronation regalia and protocol; as well as fascinating facts about the Windsors.