Baby, they were born to reign

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Pay / Streaming Television - Graeme Blundell Born to Roy­alty,

It’s fas­ci­nat­ing the way tele­vi­sion has framed the Queen’s reign. It be­gan with her 1953 coronation, an event the me­dia-shy monarch was re­luc­tant to have tele­vised. In Aus­tralia, the fact we could only read about the mil­lions who heard the bells peal and can­nons fire and watched rev­ellers dance into the night helped has­ten the tardy im­ple­men­ta­tion of what was called the “magic lan­tern in our own homes”.

Deal­ing with TV has been a defin­ing chal­lenge of the Queen’s reign. As writer An­drew Crisell sug­gested: “At the 1953 coronation, TV was a hum­ble sup­pli­cant knock­ing at the door of Westminster Abbey and be­ing al­lowed to watch dis­creetly from the loft. By the 1990s it was a mon­strous dic­ta­tor be­fore whom a prince and princess would come to jus­tify their pri­vate lives.”

Many ar­gue that the royal doc­u­men­tary was in­vented by TV when the li­cen­tious 60s took flight and pre­sented the world with an al­ter­na­tive model of free love and joint cus­tody. Now the royal doc­u­men­tary, once an event, is just an­other reality sub­genre keep­ing the roy­als mar­ketable and vis­i­ble in the dig­i­tal en­vi­ron­ment.

And to cel­e­brate 90 years of the Queen, UKTV presents four spe­cials over the next four Wed­nes­days, of­fer­ing a glimpse into a world few of us will ever en­counter. The first, Born to Roy­alty, charts the his­tory of the royal ba­bies born in re­cent times, fo­cus­ing on Wil­liam and Kate’s first child, Ge­orge, the great grand­child of the Queen. Nar­rated by Down­ton Abbey’s Hugh Bon­neville, it’s a fea­ture-length look at the life that lies ahead for the child who was born to reign — with nary a neg­a­tive voice to be heard. But even if you’re no roy­al­ist, the archival footage is worth the ad­mis­sion. (103) Wed­nes­day, 8.30pm, BBC UKTV

Prince Wil­liam, Duke of Cam­bridge, with Cather­ine, Duchess of Cam­bridge, af­ter their wed­ding in 2011

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