As the longest serving member of royalty in the world Queen Elizabeth at 96 years of age has quite a life a to look back on and this documentary that celebrates her seventy years on the throne packs a lot into what is a breezily entertaining 90 minutes. Divided up into chapters it covers her early life as a child right up to the modern day and doesn’t flinch in covering the controversies that takes in her children’s failed marriages as well as more recent upsets including her ginger grandson who is unable to open a holiday brochure without getting skin cancer and his quiz show hostess social climbing bit part actress wife and not forgetting her favourite son Andrew removed from the public eye when that’s exactly where he should be so we can keep an eye on him.
This is the last film to be directed by the late Roger Michell (The Duke – reviewed HERE ) he and producer Kevin Loader ( Alpha Papa, Captain Correlli’s Mandolin) have assembled an eclectic array of footage and without any voiceover or alleged ‘experts’ telling us what to think, and it paints a very human picture of Queen Elizabeth II far from the ice maiden many might perceive her. Yet she is serious and committed to duty and as the Monarch she has dealt with the greatest of Prime Ministers (Churchill) to the worst, Boris Johnson looking like a rice pudding injected with the DNA of Pol Pot. It doesn’t shy away from the the mistakes and gaffes taking in Prince Edwards disastrous foray into entertainment with It’s A Royal Knockout to Fergie’s toe sucking headlines which compared to her ex-husbands alleged exploits in today’s climate seem innocuous and the verbal gaffes, which the late Duke of Edinburgh must surely be able to fill an entire documentary with but here its Prince Charles on the occasion of his engagement to Diana replying to a journalist asking if he is in love replies ‘ Whatever love means?’ the sort of regal equivalent of, ‘Get dressed love, your taxi’s here!’.
What it makes clear is her devotion to duty and a constant against a background of often the most challenging of social turmoil and her silver Jubilee in 1977 seems a lifetime ago in far simpler and perhaps more innocent times. But the film makers have found much to raise a smile from the official stand in at ceremony rehearsals to one of the Queen’s guards smartly saluting her but accidently smacking a child in the face as he does so.
This is an endearing if not especially judgemental documentary that makes clear that her service to the country has been steadfast, loyal and absolute and as a celebration of her 70 years service to the country by a woman the likes of which it is hard to imagine we will ever see on the throne again.
We spoke to producer Kevin Loader about the making of the documentary and the late Roger Michell…..plus a little bit about an Alan Partridge film sequel!
Here’s the Elizabeth A Portrait in Parts trailer …….
Elizabeth: A Portrait in Parts is in Cinemas May 27th with previews on May 23rd and streaming on Prime Video June 1st