The British monarchy on screen

Edited by Mandy Merck

The British monarchy on screen


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-0-7190-9956-4
  • Pages: 432
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £90.00
  • Published Date: February 2016
  • BIC Category: The arts / Film theory & criticism, Film and Media, Film history, theory & criticism, PERFORMING ARTS / Film & Video / History & Criticism


Moving images of the British monarchy are almost as old as the moving image itself, dating back to an 1895 American drama, The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots. And from 1896, actual British monarchs appeared in the new 'animated photography', led by Queen Victoria. Half a century later the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II was a milestone in the adoption of television, watched by 20 million Britons and 100 million North Americans. At the century's end, Princess Diana's funeral was viewed by 2.5 billion worldwide. In the first book length examination of film and television representations of this enduring institution, distinguished scholars of media and political history analyze the screen representations of royalty from Henry VIII to 'William and Kate'. Seventeen essays by Ian Christie, Elisabeth Bronfen, Andrew Higson, Karen Lury, Glynn Davies, Jane Landman and other international commentators examine the portrayal of royalty in the 'actuality' picture, the early extended feature, amateur cinema, the movie melodrama, the Commonwealth documentary, New Queer Cinema, TV current affairs, the big screen ceremonial and the post-historical boxed set. A long overdue contribution to film and television studies, this book will be essential reading for scholars and students of British media and political history.


'Overall this collection brings together a range of well-researched and well-written essays which explore in great detail the various ways in which photography and film have been used to represent the British monarchy. One cannot help coming to the conclusion that Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's early attraction to the new photographic medium was a prescient move on their part on behalf of the monarchy as an institution.'
Allister Mactaggart, Chesterfield College, Cercles


Introduction - Mandy Merck
Part I: Victorian inventions
1. 'A Very Wonderful Process': Queen Victoria, photography and film at the fin de siècle - Ian Christie
2. Sixty Years a Queen (1913): a lost epic of the reign of Victoria - Jude Cowan Montague
3. The heart of a heartless political world: screening Victoria - Steven Fielding
4. Walbrook's royal waltzes - James Downs
Part II: The Elizabethan diva
5. Her Majesty moves: Sarah Bernhardt, Queen Elizabeth, and the development of motion pictures - Victoria Duckett
6. Elizabeth I: the cinematic afterlife of an early modern political diva - Elisabeth Bronfen and Barbara Straumann
7. Queens and queenliness: Quentin Crisp as Orlando's Elizabeth I - Glyn Davis
Part III: Images of empire
8. Renewing imperial ties: The Queen in Australia - Jane Landman
9. The King's Speech: an allegory of imperial rapport - Deirdre Gilfedder
Part IV: Popular participation in royal representation
10. The Queen has two bodies: Amateur film, civic culture and the rehearsal of monarchy - Karen Lury
11. The regal catwalk: Royal weddings and the media promotion of British fashion - Jo Stephenson
12. The Queen on the big screen(s) - outdoor screens and public congregations - Ruth Adams
Part V: Television's contested histories
13. Television's royal family: continuity and change - Erin Bell and Ann Gray
14. The Tudors and the post-national, post-historical Henry VIII - Basil Glynn
Part VI: Monarchy in contemporary Anglophone cinema
15. From political power to the power of the image: Contemporary 'British' cinema and the nation's monarchs - Andrew Higson
16. Melodrama, celebrity, The Queen - Mandy Merck
17. When words fail: The King's Speech as melodrama - Nicola Rehling


Mandy Merck is Professor of Media Arts at Royal Holloway, University of London

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