The first episode in an epic six-part series, The Royal House of Windsor, premieres on Wednesday 22 Feb at 9.00pm on Channel 4. It tells the gripping family saga of the world’s most famous dynasty over the last 100 years. Based on new evidence from archives around the world and the Queen’s own personal family archive held at Windsor, the series provides a fascinating behind-the-scenes insight into how the Windsors have weathered four generations of crisis, and the secrets of their survival.
This episode reveals fresh insights into how George V rescued the monarchy by dumping their German roots and rebranding the family as quintessentially British, until his wayward son Edward VIII nearly brought the dynasty crashing down with the abdication crisis, only for his stammering younger brother Bertie and his wife Elizabeth, the current Queen’s mother, to step in and save the day. In July 1917, Britain was at war with Germany and hatred of all things German, including the royal family, was rife. King George V faced a crisis.
In response, he ruthlessly forced all of his German relations living in Britain to change their identity. He changed his family’s name from the German Saxe Coburg-Gotha to the couldn’t-get-more-English Windsor. And he allowed his cousin, the Russian Tsar and his family to perish at the hands of the Bolsheviks. As monarchies around the world were toppling, the Windsors triumphed. They have always followed one crucial rule: survive, no matter what it takes, whatever the cost.
Producer and Director: Richard Sanders
Executive Producers: Denys Blakeway, Nick Bullen
Series Producer: Leonie Jameson
Production Company: Spungold Television
The Royal House of Windsor Episode 1 (of 6) airs on Wednesday 22 February 2017 at 9.00pm on Channel 4.