Epic series The Royal House of Windsor, that reveals the gripping family saga of the world’s most famous dynasty over the last 100 years continues with episode 2 airing on Wednesday 1 March at 9.00pm.
Drawing on new evidence from the Queen’s personal family archive, this episode reveals how a lovesick Elizabeth and her ailing father, George VI, keep up appearances while crises loom on every front. In 1947 the royal family are on a tour of South Africa.
Britain is suffering from crippling post-war austerity and the worst winter on record. Behind the smiles, the King is suffering from the strains of the war, the smoking that would eventually kill him and anxiety about his eldest daughter. The King’s cosy family – ‘We four’ – is about to be broken up. Elizabeth has told him that she is secretly engaged to her cousin, Prince Philip. The King asks his daughter to wait until after South Africa before announcing her news. She reluctantly agrees. The royal tour is billed as a way of thanking the South Africans for their war effort.
In reality, the mission is to shore up the crumbling British Empire. Their host, the South African Prime Minister, wants a touch of royal stardust to boost his chances in the upcoming election. He’s under threat from the white South Africans who support apartheid, and from black nationalists who want equality. These agendas take their toll on the King. He is frustrated at the attempts by the racist Afrikaners to try to stop him even shaking hands with black people, referring to his police minders as ‘the Gestapo’. The fraught tour reaches its climax when Princess Elizabeth turns 21 and she famously broadcasts around the world promising to devote her whole life to ‘service’. She passes her first test with flying colours. But within four years, the King is dead and a young, newly married Elizabeth is suddenly thrust onto the throne.
Producer and Director: Ian A. Hunt
Executive Producers: Denys Blakeway, Nick Bullen
Series Producers: Leonie Jameson
Production Company: Spun Gold Television
The Royal House Of Windsor Episode 2 (of 6) airs on Wednesday 1 March 2017 from 9.00pm-10.00pm on Channel 4.