The Royals

TV review by
Dana Anderson, Common Sense Media
The Royals TV Poster Image
Only die-hard royal fans will appreciate this dry doc.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

People living in the same country -- or even around the world -- can come together in celebration of events, such as royal weddings, that capture their hearts and imaginations. People who marry for love, rather than status or obligation, are usually much happier in the long run.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Some royals, such as William and Kate, are portrayed in this documentary as very positive role models. Both expert royal watchers and random citizens in the U.K. describe the royal twosome as the epitome of a happy, distinguished, and well-liked couple. Discussions about Prince Charles, Princess Diana, and Charles' second wife Camilla are less positive and more complicated. Some historic royals gave up the crown for love; others support their spouses through difficult wartime situations. 

Violence

Mild talk of wartime struggles and complexities. Images of Princess Diana's car crash.

Sex

Discussions about Prince Charles' extramarital affair ("the bedded cannot be wedded"). Gender stereotypes perpetuated by some experts interviewed. Speaking about Kate Middleton, one expert says: "This gorgeous girl finally got her prince, and we want William to be happy." Another discusses Pippa Middleton's backside at her sister's wedding.

Language
Consumerism

Portrays the royal family as a brand unto itself, able to pull in millions of viewers for their weddings. Some discussion about well-known, high-end designers related to who created specific wedding dresses. One royal superfan is shown in a room filled with memorabilia.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Royals is a six-part documentary series about the British royal family. Each episode covers one royal-related topic through the generations: weddings, funerals, teens, babies, even royal pets. The documentary is based on expert interviews, historic video clips, and modern footage. There's some talk about extramarital affairs, images from Princess Diana's gruesome car crash, and some discussions of war. Generally, however, The Royals documentary is much more tame than the E! network soap opera-style drama also called The Royals.

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What's the story?

THE ROYALS is a six-part documentary series about the British royal family. The first episode is about royal weddings; it includes weddings throughout generations, including Queen Victoria's wedding in 1840 to William and Kate's modern-day wedding. The documentary includes expert interviews about wedding fashion, customs, cakes, the geopolitical implications of royal marriages, and more. Each episode covers one royalty-related topic through the generations: weddings, funerals, teens, babies, even royal pets.

Is it any good?

This series is a true documentary in the most traditional -- and dry -- sense of the genre. The Royals is based almost exclusively on expert interviews, historic video clips, and modern footage of the blue-blooded British royal family. The storytelling runs at a rather stilted pace, jumping from expert to expert and back again. Some commentators are given minutes to ramble on about a wedding dress while others have only specks of time to talk about more weighty matters, such as royal influences during wartime. In one profoundly long and painfully memorable scene, a celebrity hairdresser recreates Kate Middleton's wedding hairstyle on a model. Unfortunately, only the most devoted fans of the British monarchy will likely appreciate The Royals, and even they may question the quality of this series.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the gender stereotypes some of the royal traditions uphold. What does your kid think about the idea of royal succession through children, depending on gender? What are their thoughts on the "girl finding her prince" storyline in modern-day royal weddings?

  • If you live in the U.S. or another country that doesn't have a royal family, ask your kid: Would you like to have royals representing your country? Why, or why not?

  • Talk about the fictional, Disney-style versions of king and queens, princes and princesses. How do they differ from real-life versions? How are they the same?

TV details

  • Premiere date: January 2, 2013
  • Network: Netflix
  • Genre: Drama
  • TV rating: TV-G
  • Available on: Streaming

For kids who love history

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