Flashback Friday: Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding (2018)

A wedding is something to celebrate. A royal wedding takes that concept and explodes it tenfold.

The 2018 PBS TV movie Victoria & Albert: The Royal Wedding told the story of the wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert from the inside out. Hosted and narrated by Lucy Worsley, the viewer is given a micro view of the often unseen and underappreciated details that made the day what it was.

I find this topic fascinating. Though outwardly, it is straight out of a fairy tale, there is obviously much more than the happily ever after. The number of moving parts that could have ground everything to a halt is a topic that deserves the spotlight.

Do I recommend it? Yes.


Lucy Worsley Investigates Review

History is more than a dry set of facts in a book. It is a lesson from previous generations and can be a mystery with clues that are yet to be revealed.

The four-part PBS series, Lucy Worsley Investigates, takes a second look at some of the most dramatic and well-known events in British history. Using first-hand sources from the era and speaking to historians, she takes a deep dive to understand what is a myth and what is a fact.

I enjoyed this program. With her usual intelligence and easy-to-follow narrative, Worsley takes viewers into the nitty-gritty of the subject. With a detective’s nose for the details, she uses a modern perspective to understand why it happened and what we can perhaps learn from it so it is not repeated.

Do I recommend it? Yes.

Lucy Worsley Investigates can be viewed on the PBS app or the PBS website.

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Throwback Thursday: Tales from the Royal Bedchamber (2013)

Sex is one of the core components of being human. But sex, like all things related to being human, is complicated.

Tales from the Royal Bedchamber aired on PBS back in 2013. Hosted by historian Lucy Worsley, the documentary takes viewers into the personal and romantic lives of the monarchy. Entangled into the story are concerns about family, children, and the next generation of royals.

I enjoyed this documentary. It could have easily been a dry history lesson talking about kings, queens, and their successors. But Worsley has a way of making history come alive while showing the humanity of the film’s subjects.

I recommend it.

Throwback Thursday-A Very British Romance (2015)

The ideas we have about love and romance did not come out of thin air. As our culture changed, the perception of love and romance (and marriage by extension) changed.

In 2015, the miniseries A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley aired. Hosted by the aforementioned historian Lucy Worsley, the program explored in the history of romance in the UK and how it shifted over the generations.

I enjoyed this series. Ms. Worsley breaks down the history in such a way that it is digestible and entertaining. Whether one is knowledgeable in this subject or a newbie, this program is a history lesson that does not feel like a history lesson.

I recommend it.

Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life Book Review

Every genre has a standard narrative. When a reader opens up a biography, he or she expects the standard womb to tomb narrative. Lucy Worsley‘s new biography of Queen Victoria, Queen Victoria: Twenty-Four Days That Changed Her Life, both adheres to the standard narrative and steps out of the box.

Ms. Worsley tells the story of Queen Victoria via 24 days in her life that had a life altering effect. From a 2019 perspective, the Queen might have been viewed as an everyday woman: she was balancing a demanding career, raising children and maintaining her marriage.

What I liked about this book is that Ms. Worsley does not write the predictable womb to tomb biography. In choosing the specific moments in time, Ms. Worsley brings out her subject’s humanity and ordinary-ness, making her seem like just another woman instead of one of the greatest Queens in human history.

I recommend it.

Jane Austen at Home: A Biography Book Review

The womb to tomb narrative is the standard format for a biography. While it’s fine for a standard format, it can, depending on the person writing the biography, be as dull as a college text-book or as alive as if the reader was watching a film of the biography’s subject.

Earlier this year, historian Lucy Worsley released Jane Austen at Home: A Biography. While Ms. Worsley goes over the basic facts of Austen’s life that any Janeite would be familiar with, she focuses on the places that the Ms. Austen lived throughout her 41 years and the possessions in those houses colored her world.

I’ve been fan of the author for a short time, and I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it because there is life, color and vibrancy to what could be a very dull narrative. There are also Easter eggs, connections between Austen’s life and her novels that a newbie Janeite might miss, but a Janeite who is well steeped in Austen lore would understand.

I recommend it.

Secrets of The Six Wives Review

It has been said that history is written by the victors. History has also been written by men.

Henry VIII was the second King in the Tudor dynasty, ruling from 1509-1547. During his lifetime, he said “I do” to six different women. Catherine of Aragon, Anne Boleyn, Jane Seymour, Anne of Cleves, Catherine Howard and Catherine Parr all wore the Queen’s coronet at one point or another during Henry’s reign. Catherine Parr, his widow, was the only wife to be spared the fate of either divorce or death at the king’s hands.

In the new PBS miniseries, Secrets Of The Six Wives, historian Lucy Worsley takes the audience through the reign of Henry VIII through the eyes of his wives. Telling the story both in character (and in the background of Henry’s court) and in modern dress, Ms. Worsley allows the audience to see that world through the point of view of the six different women who were referred to as the Queen of England in the first half of the 16th century.

As a feminist and a history buff, this series is absolutely fascinating. To see this man’s world through a woman’s eyes, is still a concept that while it should not be radical in 2017, feels radical. Despite the fact that these women were Queens, their status was no different from any other woman in England at this time. Their job (especially at the higher levels of society) was to bring legitimate male heirs into the world. That was their only responsibility. Five of these women failed at this task. Jane Seymour (wife #3) was the only one who bore her husband a male heir. Unfortunately, the boy who would briefly reign as Edward VI died young. I’d like to think that history has a sense of humor. While Henry VIII married six women in an effort to bring a male heir in the world, his daughter Elizabeth I (by wife #2 Anne Boleyn) is remembered as one of the greatest rulers, male or female in the history of the human race.

I recommend it.

The Secret Of The Six Wives airs on PBS on Sunday night at 10PM.

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