The ABC has announced a new TV series beginning on ABC1, "The House Of Windsor: A Royal Dynasty." The broadcasts will run from Monday 12 to 26 January 2009, at 605pm. The ABC has not indicated the origin of the three-part series that it says follows the Royal family's life stories. It does seem encouraging that the ABC has decided to pay some attention to The Queen of Australia and our Royal Family.
The ABC says the stories are woven into a fascinating tapestry set against the major events of nine decades. The narrative is built on remarkable – in some cases previously unseen – archive film including rare 1930s colour footage of a Coronation, a Silver Jubilee and a Royal tour of Canada.
The broadcaster invites viewers to witness "the triumphs of the crowned heads calmly steering their country through two world wars, their moments of public splendour (the fireworks that saluted George V's Silver Jubilee and the tide of love that swept Elizabeth II aloft on her Golden Jubilee), their days of personal joy (Prince William's graduation day, Prince Harry's passing-out parade) and their days of sorrow (the failed marriages and the deaths of Princess Margaret and Princess Diana)."
The promotional material says the Windsor dynasty was born in 1917 during the darkest days of World War One. Criticised for being a blood relation of the German enemy, the reigning Monarch, George V, suddenly changed the family name from Saxe-Coburg to the resoundingly English, Windsor.
Episode 1: The First Windsors
"This follows the reign of George V and his devoted wife Queen Mary. The couple were a dedicated but deeply conservative couple, shocked by modern fashions in dress and manners. They were suspicious of their eldest son, Edward, and his passion for everything new.
"George's first great crisis came during the Great War when he was forced to change the Royal name. His second crisis haunted the last ten years of his life. His belief that his son Edward would be a disastrous King proved right. Edward VIII would be forced to abdicate in 1936 after less than a year on the throne. But, proud to be the King of a 'wonderful people', George stirred loyalty and affection throughout the country."
Episode 2: The King Who Saved The Crown
This episode will be broadcast at 6:05pm on Monday, 19 January. It is "the story of Bertie, the Duke of York – the most shy and unlikely of kings. He had a stammer and hated public occasions, yet his brother's abdication compelled him to do his royal duty. With the help of his gifted wife, Elizabeth, he grew into the role of King George VI and crucially re-established confidence in the monarchy.
"On the outbreak of World War Two, the King was broadcast telling his people that they had to 'meet the challenge of a principle, which if it were to prevail would be fatal to any civilised order in the world'. He conducted himself with enormous dignity and courage in Britain's darkest hours during the horrors of the Blitz. His early death from cancer would bring his perfectly prepared daughter, Princess Elizabeth, to the throne at 25."
Episode 3: A Queen For All Seasons
This is to be broadcast at 6:05pm on 26 January, 2009. It "covers Elizabeth II's reign (the longest since Victoria's and still going strong). It is a romantic story of a princess who fell completely in love with a prince called Philip. As a young mother, she was called suddenly to the throne and ruled with calm authority. All four of her children brought trouble to the Queen's door as adults.
"Failed royal marriages were a tabloid dream in what became the 'nasty nineties', and Diana's death left its scars . . . Yet as the 21st century arrived, Queen Elizabeth II was hailed as the great survivor, the calm at the centre of the storm. Now in her eighties she seems indestructible."