Earlier this year, her majesty, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated a major milestone. She celebrated six decades on the throne. Sixty years is a long time. While presidents and members of Parliament have come and gone throughout those six decades, she has remained the key figure of Britain’s Royal Family. Media outlets across the globe had their cameras there as she celebrated the anniversary. Citizens from around the world were there, too. For all the pomp and circumstance, one wonders how many people know the history of one of the world’s longest ruling individuals. Thanks to PBS, audiences can now see the life and times of a figure who has become more than just a monarch. She is one of the people.
“Queen & Country” is a fully in-depth four part series that explains how Queen Elizabeth was thrust into the limelight after the death of her father, King George VI in February 1952. Narrator Sir Trevor McDonald takes viewers on a journey through time in this new double disc presentation that shows how Queen Elizabeth II became one of the world’s most beloved public figures. It all starts with the segment, “London, Royal City.” This segment sets the groundwork for the special. It explains the royal family’s reputation thanks to her father, King George VI. George led Britain through WWII, and became one of the nation’s most beloved leaders of all time. Understanding this, it’s easy to see how the queen would be similar, personality-wise, to her father. Perhaps the most interesting fact of the queen that echoes throughout all four segments of this special is that as much as people see her in pictures and in the public, Elizabeth II is a very private person. She rarely does media interviews. And as McDonald explains, even those who talk to her on a personal level are sworn to secrecy concerning their conversations.
It should be noted that there are those out there who would rant and rave that the queen is little more than a political figurehead and ask why she is so beloved. McDonald does admit that the queen really doesn’t have power, as Britain is run by what is known as a Constitutional Monarchy. She may not have ultimate power, but she does have input on what goes on in Parliament. Ergo, she is still a very important figure in her nation’s political happenings. As noted in one interview, she meets with the Prime Minister at least once a week. And thanks to her many years of experience, she can offer her own insight into matters discussed by members of Parliament.
The relationship between the queen and the United Kingdom is discussed through the segments, “The Royal Visit” and “The Traveller.” Both show just how much the queen is in the public view. And it is because of her reputation in the public as being a very kind, simple person that the people of the United Kingdom love her so much. Even one of Australia’s former heads noted that while the nation would love to be independent, it wouldn’t push for that until Elizabeth is no longer ruling. He notes that that’s the level of respect Australia has for her.
Queen Elizabeth II is one of the most influential and respected individuals in the history of not only her own country, but of other nations, too. “Queen & Country” is evidence of that. And while it does present the impact she has had on the world and vice versa, it offers so much more that any history buff or student of history would enjoy. This double disc blu-ray and DVD is available now. It can be ordered online at http://www.shoppbs.org.
To keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news, go to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141. Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.