Editor: Mandy Merck

Moving images of the British monarchy, in fact and fiction, are almost as old as the moving image itself, dating back to an 1895 dramatic vignette, The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Led by Queen Victoria, British monarchs themselves appeared in the new 'animated photography' from 1896. 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. Seventeen essays by 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. These contributors include Ian Christie, Elisabeth Bronfen, Andrew Higson, Steven Fielding, Karen Lury, Glyn Davis, Ann Gray, Jane Landman, Victoria Duckett, Jude Cowan Montague, James Downs, Barbara Straumann, Deirdre Gilfedder, Jo Stephenson, Ruth Adams, Erin Bell, Basil Glynn and Nicola Rehling.

chap 4 22/3/04 12:53 pm Page 109 4 Ecclesiastical monarchy or monarchies? Why did the French episcopate prove so tenacious in opposing the regulars’ calls for independence through the seventeenth century? Like the bishops’ quarrels with the curés, these were crises of authority in which the episcopate fought to assert its disciplinary supremacy over the religious orders. Yet the struggle between the bishops and the regulars was just one manifestation of a much larger complexity: the place of the episcopate in the church’s governing hierarchy. Not only did

in Fathers, pastors and kings
Contemporary ‘British’ cinema and the nation’s monarchs

INTRODUCTION: THE HERITAGE OF MONARCHY AND THE ROYALS ON FILM From Kenneth Branagh’s Henry V Shakespeare adaptation in 1989 to the story of the final years of the former Princess of Wales, in Diana in 2013, at least twenty-six English-language feature films dealt in some way with the British monarchy. 1 All of these films (the dates and directors of which

in The British monarchy on screen
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The King’s Speech as melodrama

In his review of The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010), Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw remarks that the Oscar-winning film shows ‘some cheek at presenting an English monarch as the underdog’. 1 However, although melodrama traditionally ‘sides with the powerless’, 2 it has become a common mode through which the British monarchy is represented in contemporary British

in The British monarchy on screen
Continuity and change

, resulting in the resignation of the then BBC1 controller Peter Finch. Our Queen , a rare offering in this genre from ITV, revealed a tension between the filmmaker, Waldman, who wanted to observe the monarchy, and the advisers, who sought to conserve its reputation and therefore wished to limit his access. 1 As the latter unsurprisingly triumphed, an almost inevitable celebratory mode was conveyed. The

in The British monarchy on screen
Screening Victoria

(infamously Alan B’Stard in the even broader 1987–92 ITV comedy The New Statesman ). The country’s head of state – its hereditary monarch – rarely makes a showing in Britain’s contemporary political dramas. One reason for the monarchy’s absence is that, compared to the American presidency, many consider its formal function to be barely ‘political’. Indeed, according to one of Britain’s leading

in The British monarchy on screen
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Quentin Crisp as Orlando’s Elizabeth I

monarchy? The significance of Crisp’s role in Potter’s film, I will suggest, is its yoking together of the queerness of Woolf’s novel with the author’s equivocal attitude towards royalty. THE END OF AN ERA: CRISP’S REIGN AS QUEEN Quentin Crisp was born in Surrey, England, on 25 December 1908. (His Alternative Message was aired on his eighty-fifth birthday.) He lived as an overt homosexual during decades

in The British monarchy on screen
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Amateur film, civic culture and the rehearsal of monarchy

visits to cities, schools and large sporting competitions. In the context of an anthology exploring the representation of the British monarchy on screen, the coincidence of these symbolic performances of monarchy in amateur film is particularly interesting. In the argument that follows, the amateur filmmaker’s capturing of the real monarchy, as in the representatives of the British Crown, or the fabricated monarchy

in The British monarchy on screen
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An allegory of imperial rapport

establishment of what has long been termed in Australia, a ‘bunyip aristocracy’. 2 It also revealed the complexity of an entirely independent Australia’s relationship to the British monarchy. This return to royal honours comes in the wake of a series of mediated public relations ‘successes’ for the British royal family in the twenty-first century. In Britain the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, the

in The British monarchy on screen

, that the ambiguous ‘concern’ about the strike expressed in a palace press release indicated a royal regard for ordinary Britons’ welfare not shared by the elected government of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. That belief, Williamson argued, has been bolstered by the British monarchy’s cultivation of a middle-class domestic image since the reign of Victoria. In ‘incorporating both

in The British monarchy on screen