12 TV shows inspired by real-life royal families

Netflix‘The Crown’ portrays a fictionalized version of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign.

The lives of past and present royals have inspired a number of TV series over the past decade.

From series that take many liberties with historical accuracy to fairly accurate period dramas, here are 12 shows inspired by real-life royal families in the UK, France, and beyond.


“Reign” (CW) is a stylised take on the life of Queen Mary of Scots.

Steve Wilkie/The CWThe series aired for four seasons.

If you enjoy fictionalized love triangles and ornate, runway-worthy costumes, the 16th-century period drama “Reign” could be your new favourite show.

This CW series, which aired for four seasons, tells the fictionalized story of teenage monarch Queen Mary of Scots as she comes into her own as a ruler of France and Scotland.

Queen Mary of Scots is played by Adelaide Kane and the series also stars Canadian “Anne of Green Gables” actress Megan Follows as Catherine de’ Medici, queen consort of France and Mary’s mother-in-law.


“The Crown” (Netflix) focuses on the young Queen Elizabeth.

NetflixThe series is a Netflix original.

The Emmy-nominated Netflix original series “The Crown” centres around the life of Queen Elizabeth II, starting with her marriage to Prince Philip.

In the show’s first two seasons, Claire Foy portrays the queen, and “Doctor Who” alum Matt Smith plays Prince Philip. Foy and Smith are later replaced by Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies, who appear as older versions of the royals.


“Victoria” (ITV/PBS) is an acclaimed drama about the 19th-century monarch.

PBSThe show is returning for its third season in January.

In “Victoria,” Jenna Coleman plays the eponymous British queen during the early stages of her reign as she learns to balance familial duties with royal obligations. This acclaimed historical drama, returning for a third season in January, also features Tom Hughes as Prince Albert.


“The Borgias” (Showtime) is a steamy series about devious Italian nobility.

The Borgias/FacebookThe drama has three seasons.

Spanning three seasons,this steamy drama ― set at the turn of the 16th century ― focuses on the devious machinations of the titular Italo-Spanish noble family. Jeremy Irons stars as libertine Pope Alexander VI.


“Versailles” (Canal+) tells the story of how Louis XIV built his palace.

Canal +It aired for three seasons.

Set in the years following the Fronde, a series of French civil wars that unfolded in the mid-17th century, “Versailles” tells the story of how Louis XIV, the Sun King, built his world-famous palace against a backdrop of political intrigue.

This French series had English dialogue and aired for three seasons. Notably, part of the series was filmed at the actual Palace of Versailles.


“Wolf Hall” (BBC) is an award-winning miniseries about the court of Henry VIII.

BBCThe show is based on two historical novels.

Based on two best-selling historical novels by Hilary Mantel, this Golden Globe-winning miniseries examines how infamous statesman and lawyer Thomas Cromwell, played by Mark Rylance, ascended to power in Henry VIII’s court.

The six-episode show also stars Claire Foy as Anne Boleyn.


“The White Queen” (BBC/Starz) takes place in 15th-century England.

Company PicturesThe show is an adaptation of a book series.

The White Queen” is an adaptation of Philippa Gregory’s historical “Cousins’ War” novel series. Gregory is best known for writing the classic book “The Other Boleyn Girl.”

The series is set in the 15th century during the War of the Roses ― a civil conflict between the House of Lancaster and the House of York, competing branches of the same royal house.

It series stars Rebecca Ferguson as the title character, Elizabeth Woodville, wife of King Edward IV and queen consort of England.

A sequel series called “The White Princess,” centering around Elizabeth of York, aired in 2017.


“The Tudors” (Showtime) is a meaty, up-close look at a famous royal dynasty.

Showtime/’The Tudors’Natalie Dormer plays Anne Boleyn.

Offering an up-close look at one of the most famous royal dynasties in British history,this four-season drama highlights the rule of Henry VIII, played by Jonathan Rhys Meyers. The series’ impressive ensemble also includes Natalie Dormer as Anne Boleyn and Henry Cavill as Duke Charles Brandon.


“Isabel” (La 1) focuses on Spanish monarch Queen Isabella I.

Diagonal TVIt aired for three seasons.

“Isabel,” which has been called Spain’s answer to “The Tudors,” is a historical drama focusing on the reign of Queen Isabella I of Castile. Airing for three seasons, it charts the monarch’s life from her marriage to Ferdinand II of Aragon to her children’s nuptials.


“The Romanoffs” (Amazon) is an anthology drama about believed descendants of Russian royalty.

AmazonThe show comes from ‘Mad Men’ creator Matthew Weiner.

The Romanoffs,” an anthology series from “Mad Men” creator Matthew Weiner, focuses on people who believe they’re descendants of the royal Russian Romanov family.

Although the cast and storyline vary from episode to episode, the show features some famous actors, such as Isabelle Huppert and Christina Hendricks.


“The Virgin Queen” (BBC) examines the public and private life of Elizabeth I.

BBCIt’s a miniseries.

The Virgin Queen” is a four-part miniseries about Elizabeth I, played by Anne-Marie Duff. It examines the public and private life of the queen, including her dubious rapport with Robert Dudley, a childhood confidant and future suitor played by Tom Hardy.


“The Windsors” (Channel 4) parodies today’s British royals.

Channel 4The show takes a lot of creative liberty.

If you’re more interested in a fictionalized version of the current goings-on at Buckingham Palace, “The Windsors” might be for you. The series is a sitcom that parodies today’s British royals.

Although rooted in real events, the series takes a lot of liberty with its characterizations of most of the members of the House of Windsor.

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