TV Shows: The Crown
Readalikes for Teens and Adults
Wikipedia’s Description: Based on an award-winning play (“The Audience”) by showrunner Peter Morgan, this lavish, Netflix-original drama chronicles the life of Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foy) from the 1940s to modern times. The series begins with an inside look at the early reign of the queen, who ascended the throne at age 25 after the death of her father, King George VI. As the decades pass, personal intrigues, romances, and political rivalries are revealed that played a big role in events that shaped the later years of the 20th century.
Main appeals: Character-driven, Historical, Realistic, British
Amazon’s Description: From the moment of her ascension to the throne in 1952 at the age of twenty-five, Queen Elizabeth II has been the object of unparalleled scrutiny. But through the fog of glamour and gossip, how well do we really know the world’s most famous monarch? Drawing on numerous interviews and never-before-revealed documents, acclaimed biographer Sally Bedell Smith pulls back the curtain to show in intimate detail the public and private lives of Queen Elizabeth II, who has led her country and Commonwealth through the wars and upheavals of the last sixty years with unparalleled composure, intelligence, and grace.
In Elizabeth the Queen, we meet the young girl who suddenly becomes “heiress presumptive” when her uncle abdicates the throne. We meet the thirteen-year-old Lilibet as she falls in love with a young navy cadet named Philip and becomes determined to marry him, even though her parents prefer wealthier English aristocrats. We see the teenage Lilibet repairing army trucks during World War II and standing with Winston Churchill on the balcony of Buckingham Palace on V-E Day. We see the young Queen struggling to balance the demands of her job with her role as the mother of two young children. Sally Bedell Smith brings us inside the palace doors and into the Queen’s daily routines—the “red boxes” of documents she reviews each day, the weekly meetings she has had with twelve prime ministers, her physically demanding tours abroad, and the constant scrutiny of the press—as well as her personal relationships: with Prince Philip, her husband of sixty-four years and the love of her life; her children and their often-disastrous marriages; her grandchildren and friends.
Crossover Appeal: This is an easy crossover, for a show that follows the life of Queen Elizabeth, a biography is a great fit for readers wanting to know more and distinguish fact from Hollywood.
Amazon’s Description: In 1936, a constitutional crisis in the British Empire arose when Edward VIII proposed to marry Wallis Simpson, an American socialite who was divorced from her first husband and was pursuing the divorce of her second. The crisis led to the King’s abdication in December of that year. Adrian Phillips reveals the harsh realities of how government responds when a monarch steps out of line, and describes the battles in Westminster and Whitehall that settled the fate of King and Mrs. Simpson.
Crossover Appeal: King Edward VII’s abdication has far reaching effects throughout The Crown and those wishing for more information on his life might like this pick.
Amazon’s Description: As a pre-war royal whose world was hugely circumscribed by the strictures of another age, Princess Margaret was admired as well as vilified for most of her adult life. She helped usher the monarchy into the modern world—which sometimes led to conflict and misunderstanding in both her private and public life. Christopher Warwick’s superbly researched biography redresses the balance. It gives the full, insider story of the Princess’s many love affairs, but also looks at her tireless work for charity and willingness to break taboos—it was she, not Diana, who first championed HIV and AIDS awareness. Princess Margaret reminds us that its subject was one of the most remarkable, if complex and contradictory, modern royal personalities.
Crossover Appeal: Princess Margaret is a polarizing figure in The Crown, and real life. She doesn’t play a large role in the series, but fans might be intrigued and want to know more of what happened to Princess Margaret.
Amazon’s Description: When Diana: Her True Story was first published in 1992, it forever changed the way the public viewed the British monarchy. Greeted initially with disbelief and ridicule, the #1 New York Times bestselling biography has become a unique literary classic, not just because of its explosive contents but also because of Diana’s intimate involvement in the publication. Never before had a senior royal spoken in such a raw, unfiltered way about her unhappy marriage, her relationship with the Queen, her extraordinary life inside the House of Windsor, her hopes, her fears, and her dreams. Now, twenty-five years on, biographer Andrew Morton has revisited the secret tapes he and the late princess made to reveal startling new insights into her life and mind. In this fully revised edition of his groundbreaking biography, Morton considers Diana’s legacy and her relevance to the modern royal family.
Crossover Appeal: The Crown hasn’t gotten Diana or the younger royals yet, but for fans looking ahead Diana will always have a special place in royal-enthusiasts hearts.
Amazon’s Description: Theirs was destined from the start to be one of the most celebrated unions of the twenty-first century: he, the charismatic prince who would someday be crowned king of England; she, the stunningly beautiful commoner who won his heart. Prince William and Kate Middleton defied all odds to forge a storybook romance amid the scandals, power struggles, tragedies, and general dysfunction that are the hallmarks of Britain’s Royal Family. In the process, they became the most written about, gossiped about, admired, and envied young couple of their generation.
Yet for most of their nearly decade-long affair, William and Kate have remained famously quiet and kept their royal relationship a tantalizing mystery.
Crossover Appeal: Like Diana, Wills, Kate, Henry, and Meghan haven’t been seen in The Crown (yet), though for teen viewers they may still be the more popular royals.