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Queen Elizabeth’s life on the big screen and TV: Movies and shows you can stream now

Numerous documentaries as well as cinematic films have been made about the life of Queen Elizabeth II, the UK’s longest-reigning and longest-lived monarch.

Documentaries and movies about Queen Elizabeth's life
Anadolu AgencyGetty

Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned the United Kingdom for seven decades, has been a part of the fabric of life for the nation and the world at large. One of the most recognizable figures in the world, she has been a source of interest for many and even more so since her passing on 8 September.

There are numerous documentaries that trace the life of Her Royal Highness from different perspectives. As well fictional works for the silver screen and TV that attempt to give viewers a peek behind the curtain at the elusive personal side of this very publicly visible person.

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While the internet and now plentiful streaming platforms have made accessing the films somewhat easier, unfortunately, they are not available in all regions. Here is a sampling of some of what is out there and where it can be viewed.

The Crown (2016-present)

Netflix’s chronicle of the life of Queen Elizabeth II from her ascension to the throne upto the modern day has become must-see for those who want a closer look at the life of the longest-reigning British monarch. Created by Peter Morgan, who also wrote The Queen (2006), it has been criticized for being too liberal with historical accuracy.

Nevertheless it has become a TV sensation and is currently comprised of four seasons with the fifth set to drop in November. The latest season will pick up in the 1990s, with Her Royal Highness to be played by Imelda Staunton, after Claire Foy and Olivia Colman both did so for two seasons each.

Watch on Netflix

The Queen (2006)

Morgan’s other look at the life of Queen Elizabeth II, focuses on one of the most challenging moments in her life. It looks at the aftermath of the death of Princess Diana in 1997 and how Her Royal Highness dealt with the public scrutiny. Dame Helen Mirren, who played the Queen, earned an Best Actress Oscar for her depiction.

Watch on HBO or rent for $3.99 on Amazon

A Royal Night Out (2015)

Loosely based on real events, this 2015 film takes place on VE Day in 1945, when then 19-year-old Princess Elizabeth is allowed to go out onto the streets incognito with sister Margaret during the celebrations.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

A Tribute To Her Majesty The Queen (2022)

This BBC documentary is only available in the UK on the national broadcaster’s iPlayer App. The 90-minute documentary tells the story of Queen Elizabeth II through the eyes of her own children as they tell their stories about their mother.

Watch on the BBC iPlayer

Elizabeth: A Portrait In Parts (2022)

Directed by Roger Michell, this 90-minute documentary, released for her Platinum Jubilee, looks back at Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne.

Watch on Showtime

Elizabeth: The Unseen Queen (2022)

Another BBC documentary, this one commission for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee, gives an intimate portrayal of Her Majesty’s life. Narrated by the Queen herself, it follows her life using footage from home videos.

Watch on BBC Select through Amazon Prime Video or on the BBC iPlayer, only available in the UK.

The Queen’s Coronation in Colour (2018)

An ITV and Netflix co-production, it brings the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, the first to be televised, to technicolour life. Besides what people saw on the broadcast that day, the documentary includes behind-the-scenes footage and amateur footage taken by revelers. As well interviews with some of those who took part.

Watch on the ITV Hub, only available in the UK

The Royal House of Windsor (2017)

This documentary looks at the reign of the House of Windsor and the royal family over the one hundred years since they changed the family name.

Watch on Netflix

The Majestic Life of Queen Elizabeth II (2012)

This documentary came out the year of Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee. It looks at 60 years of Her Majesty’s life from the death of her father King George VI to the marriage of William and Kate through rare archival footage.

Watch on Amazon Prime Video

Elizabeth R - A Year in the Life of the Queen (1992)

This BBC documentary provides perhaps the most informal view of Queen Elizabeth II in her own voice. Filmakers from the national broadcaster were given unprecedented access to the daily interactions of the monarch over the course of 1990 and 1991.

Watch on BBC iPlayer, only available in the UK


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