tv The Windsors Inside the Royal Dynasty CNN September 17, 2022 10:00pm-11:00pm PDT
camera, every single time i hear a click, it takes me straight back. >> prince harry and meghan markle just announced they are stepping back. >> to be 100% royal, you have to sacrifice privacy and personal happiness. >> i never thought that this would be easy. but i thought it would be fair. >> harry is making this decision because he can't cope with the life that they're living. spring, 1937. albert windsor, known as bertie, is woken bit sound of a military band practicing for his coronation. he is about to be crowned king george vi. a role he never wanted. his elder brother chose to give up the throne to marry a
twice-divorced american. >> i have found it impossible to discharge my duties as king without the help of the woman i love. >> can king george, the shy man with a stutter, mend a broken monarchy? his brother edward has not gone quietly into exile. and a looming war threatens global chaos. glory of a british coronation. nowhere in the world is there anything half so wonderful. it will be one of the days in
history that schoolchildren will learn about. >> immediately before the coronation, it must have been momentous for george. this was a huge ceremony that had been prepared for his older brother. but it was he who was taking it all on. >> george's coronation occurred on the same day that it would have occurred for his brother edward. nothing was changed except the person doing it. here is somebody with a complete sense of inadequacy. he'd always been the moon to his brother's sun. >> before he was king, george was living a relatively normal, free, under-the-radar life. happily married and, as a younger member of the royal family, he does a few public duties. and is contented with that life.
>> he was always known as bertie in the family. but when he becomes king, his whole life is completely changed. he is intensely aware that he has been sort of tasked with this incredibly difficult job. so one of the first things he does is change his name to george. stressing the continuity between his reign and that of his father, george v. >> the new king george vi is extremely worried on taking over the throne because the abdication looms large. his brother edward was the most popular man in the english-speaking world. and now george has got to stand up to the plate. >> george is a believer in the principle of monarchy. he feels the british monarchy is really important to britain's national identity, and it holds the nation together. >> edward's abdication suggests that kingship isn't quite as stable as it has always
appeared. that it can be given up easily. >> so george's challenge is basically to restore the monarchy to something like the stability that it had before his brother sat on the throne. >> so it's absolutely crucial for george that the coronation is a success and that he is launched, successfully, as a monarch. >> but insecurities plague the new king. >> one of george's biggest worries is he suffers from a stutter. for him, talking in public is torture. >> in the modern newsreel age, the british public expects both to see and hear their monarch. >> now, the british monarchy is under a lot of scrutiny. so the monarch has to be comfortable in the role of communicator. >> i think he felt the pressure
of what was expected of him. his brother was fluent at making speeches, which made him feel inadequate. >> ladies and gentlemen -- i'm sure that we are all -- happy to feel -- >> the stutter sometimes prevents him from talking at all. >> -- that the generosity of his majesty - has set an example to all. >> a decade earlier, in 1925, george's wife elizabeth had sought the help of various specialists to try and cure his stutter. they tried all sorts of methods, but none worked. essentially, he was told he had a mental defect. >> elizabeth is his greatest
supporter and champion. and she seeks out help and identifies lionel logue. as a therapist who can help him overcome that difficult stammer. >> my grandfather realizes that confidence is key. they went through speeches together, replacing certain words until he felt confident. and in the runup to the coronation, my grandfather lionel logue makes frequent trips to buckingham palace to help the king for reciting the oath. >> king george and queen elizabeth are beginning their triumphal progress in the state coach. >> this is the most stressful, terrifying event of his life. there's no going back now. ♪ >> and the historic coronation ceremony is begun. >> the abbey is absolutely full. including his two daughters,
princess elizabeth who is 11, and princess margaret, who is 6. george and his family were very close. it was one of the great assets that george had that edward did not have. >> the former king, george's brother edward, is in exile in france. >> the king moves from his chair towards -- >> listening to the ceremony over the radio. >> edward, who is now called the duke of windsor, is sitting with wallis. he's actually knitting her a sweater. edward absolutely hates pomp and pageantry. >> if edward had gone through that same ceremony, inside his head he would be thinking, this is a bunch of balls. in comparison, george realizes the significance of the coronation. >> the coronation ceremony is a code of time-honored ritual
handed down through the ages. >> for george, the coronation is a massive issue. he wasn't an actual performer, unlike his brother, and the prospect of the whole world listening to his words. you know, he is really anxious that he will stammer over the oath and that this will make the monarchy look ridiculous. >> the coronation oath. >> i, george the vi, do solemnly and sin certificately in the presence of god, declare that i will uphold and maintain the said said powers according to law. >> in practice, the king manages the coronation day of the oath and all the ceremonial perfectly well. he did, in fact, rise to the occasion. >> god save the king!
god save the king! >> the coronation is a public triumph. but george has got big fights ahead. and that is to show the world he is the rightful king, not his brother. (kari) i just switched to verizon business unlimited. it is just right for my little business. (jeni) we switched, too. (kari) unlimited premium data. unlimited hotspot data. my point of sale is on point. (vo) switch to verizon business unlimited today. from the network america relies on. men put their skin through a lot. day-in, day-out that's why dove men body wash has skin-strengthening nutrients and moisturizers
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wallis are finally married. and this is a rather sad occasion in many ways. >> my grandfather was asked to be the best man at the wedding because none of the duke's brothers were willing do it. >> edward's marriage does not have the king's blessing. no one from the royal family attends. >> edward never realized just what a distance the abdication would put him from the king, from all his old friends, from his country. >> newsreel films are made, but they're not shown in britain. the newsreel filmmakers do not release them, as it would direct too much attention on edward. but queen elizabeth wants to draw the public attention back towards her and the king. >> queen elizabeth was rather scared that the monarchy was not necessarily secure.
that perhaps there might be an element of the british public that saw wallis and edward as the charming couple, and that they could be rivals in the british public's affections. >> so the new queen elizabeth is determined to put herself and her family center stage. >> queen elizabeth is the brains of the outfit, really. she's shrewd, and she understands the creation of an image. >> she takes part in this incredible photo shoot in 1939 with cecil beaten on camera. >> cecil beaten at the time was not your traditional photographer. he was a very successful fashion photographer. >> queen elizabeth was wearing these amazing white dresses, and
these huge sort of crinoline skirts. her look is completely the opposite of wallis' look. you know, wallis is sharp, angular, tailored. >> elizabeth dislikes wallis. she blames wallis for undermining and almost fatally destroying the british monarchy. >> and so queen elizabeth is look is modeled on a 19th century portrait of queen victoria who, at that time, was britain's longest-serving monarch. so she is aligning herself with royal tradition and duty. and every photograph is a success. >> the monarchy was still reeling from the crisis. and the image that cecil beaton projected was over the sort of glamorous queen who brought some of that royal glamour into the family. >> she was a strong character. she appeared to be a joking and
lighthearted person, but there was rather steel in there, actually. >> queen elizabeth projects this public image which is warm, comforting, lovely. george vi was shy. he didn't like public attention, not like her. and at the same time, she is intent on projecting a public image of the ideal family group, as opposed to edward and wallis simpson, who are childless. >> in private, queen elizabeth is preparing her eldest daughter, also named elizabeth, for her future role. overnight, the abdication made the 10-year-old princess heir to the british throne. >> her mother sees the royal job as a practical job. she teaches elizabeth how to converse with dignitaries and conduct royal duties. >> princess elizabeth was quite
a shy child, like her father. and she followed her mother's example very much. >> england launches an historic campaign to increase and solidify friendship in north america. >> in 1939, the second world war's on the horizon. and george vi and his wife elizabeth embark for america, to meet president roosevelt, because britain was going to need all the allies it could get. >> the american alliance had been crucial to britain's success in the first world war. so the sort of diplomatic purpose of the visit is to make a bond with president roosevelt and his wife. >> the king's brother had visited the united states some ten years earlier. and had become beloved by the people of the united states. george did not have that confidence.
>> so a lot is riding on this visit. this really is george's moment to prove, not just to america and to britain, but also to himself, that he can be every bit as wonderful as edward. >> the president and mrs. roosevelt found the king and queen warm and, if anything, regular people, almost immediately. >> elizabeth is central to the success of this tour. she makes people feel comfortable. and everyone falls in love with her. >> these have been tremendously strenuous days for the king and queen. but there is a short rest from their public engagements when they get to stay at hyde park, the country home of president roosevelt's mother -- >> on the king and queen's last day, they have a picnic luncheon with the roosevelts that features hotdogs as symbolic food of the common man.
>> the president's mother said, you cannot offer the king and queen of england a hotdog. the president said, yes, that's exactly what we're going to do. the king asked for a second one. so they clearly enjoyed them. >> the royal visit to america is a resounding success for the king. but there's danger. and the danger lies within george's own family. answer a few questions and our techno wizardry calculates your car's value and gives you a real offer in seconds we'll come to you pay you on the spot then pick up your car that's it at carvana
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it's 1937, and edward and wallis are in france. edward is a king who lost his throne and his purpose in life. he's bored. >> he's constantly ringing up king george with advice and treating him still as the younger brother. he hasn't yet adjusted to the fact that he is not the king. >> edward is used to having a sense of entitlement. now, george holds all the power. george vi complains and says, most people become king when the predecessor has died, and my
predecessor is alive and well in france, causing trouble. >> george expects at any time to be stabbed in the back by his brother. >> and after a bit, george stops answering the phone because these telephone conversations get too difficult. >> tension between the brothers deepens when king george denies edward the one thing he desires most for his wife. >> when edward and wallis married, george vi wrote to edward, informing him that he will not be giving wallis the title her royal highness, hrh. >> her royal highness. you're treated at a certain level. people curtsy to you at court. what george and elizabeth are clearly indicating is that wallis is not part of the royal family. >> edward's whole life is completely changed. he can no longer dazzle wallis
with his royal palaces and his status. >> but there is one man who will exploit edward's desire for deference and status. >> hitler is saying, come to berlin. we'll treat you like royalty. we'll treat wallis like royalty. and it's too good an opportunity to pass up. >> berlin. a huge crowd greeted the duke and duchess of windsor. the purpose of the visit was to study social institutions and welfare. >> the nazi party lay out the red carpet for edward and wallis. they curtsied to her, and they treated her royally. >> by 1937, hitler has an appalling reputation for political persecution, the violence of the nazi party, and anti-semitism is rife in that country.
the fact that edward is, if you like, cavorting with the nazis, that suggests he endorses hitler's regime. >> the visuals are very damaging indeed. it's a massive propaganda coup for the nazi regime. >> this causes a lot of panic back in london. you've got the loose-cannon duke of windsor meeting with hitler himself. >> there is a great deal of outrage at edward's trip to germany. "the new york times" chastens edward for allowing himself to be used as a pawn. >> edward didn't really sympathize with the nazis. but he wanted to upstage his brother and be a figure of international importance. so george was really very angry. >> less than two years after edward's visit, hitler's army invades poland.
>> poland, september 1939. germany begins its ruthless march of conquest and sets the stage for world war ii. >> britain and germany are now at war. the king addresses an apprehensive nation. >> there may be dark days ahead. but with god's help, we shall prevail. >> shortly after the outbreak of the second world war, winston churchill becomes george's prime minister. >> the relationship is quite frosty in the beginning. churchill turns up to his weekly audience with the king late. he dominates the conversation. and george finds it disrespectful. as the war progressed, they held over 200 meetings just between
the two of them. where they could talk freely. >> the role of the monarch was to be consulted, not to make the decisions. but during the second world war, he is able to back up churchill and support him. they become mutually very, very close. >> i think they talked about absolutely everything. it came to be built up between the king and my grandfather the most profound trust. >> now, king george vi is facing, really, the darkest hours as they prepare for the possibility of a german invasion. >> by september 1940, london is being subject to a relentless bombing campaign known as the blitz. >> during the war, the royal
family want to present themselves as a unifying force. as suffering alongside their people. as the symbol that holds the nation together. as the bombing intensifies, the royal family visits areas hit by the blitz. >> when they go and visit these bombed-out places, they are really resented. people actually don't want them there. >> people end up booing and jeering at the royal family. people who have lost everything don't take kindly to the royal family trotting out of their car. they see it as patronizing. as being utterly disconnected from the real world. >> this reaction suggests that the monarchy does not have the support of the british people. and at a time of war, when unity is absolutely essential, this is really worrying. >> for the monarchy to survive, it has to be useful. if they don't succeed to be of
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>> all of a sudden, the king and queen hear the sound that all londoners have come to dread. the air-raid siren. >> they hear the whir, whir, whir of a german plane, and it's coming for them. >> a bomb fell only a few feet from the palace building, close to the king's sitting room. >> a member of staff was killed. it was a very, very severe bombing. they realized that they were being targeted. >> and so it is that their majesties are walking around the debris in the garden, just like families in a hundred homes today. >> the air raid on buckingham palace is absolutely terrifying for the king and for the queen. but it has a great impact on their public image. it bolsters their symbolic appeal as londoners who are resolute. >> buckingham palace is bombed several times, and the safety of
the king and queen is a real issue. and there's quite a lot of pressure for them to leave london. and they absolutely refuse. >> truly, this is a war of all the people. they're all in it. >> the next time the king and queen go and visit the blitz damage, far from being booed and jeered, this time, they get applause. they have become the symbol of keep calm and carry on. >> the royal family do not have any political power. but churchill realizes they can play a really important part in boosting morale. >> so it's not just the king and queen who are involved in the war effort. princess elizabeth is enlisted as well. and she makes broadcasts. she speaks on behalf of herself and her sister, margaret rose. >> princess elizabeth is not a natural speaker. at age 14, she has to address
the world, really. so it's a big pressure on her shoulders. >> and when peace comes, remember it will be for us, the children of today, to make the world of tomorrow a better and happier place. >> it was an absolutely sort of magical moment. everybody was moved to tears by these two children assisting their parents, really, in the war effort. >> we are both going to say good night to you. come on, margaret. >> good night, children. >> good night and good luck to you all. >> the war was very terrifying. the idea of having princess elizabeth and princess margaret rose there was really, really comforting. >> but king george still has a problem to contend with. his exiled brother edward.
>> at this point, edward is still a liability. and the government is increasingly concerned about some of the company he's been keeping, including people with pro-nazi sympathies. and all of this was undermining george. >> churchill exercises his authority as prime minister. effectively, to shuffle him off to the bahamas as governor, where it's hoped that the duke of windsor can do very little harm. >> churchill thought, in sending him a long, long way from western europe, you can stay out of trouble. >> with edward and wallis over 4,000 miles away, king george and queen elizabeth can focus on boosting national confidence and driving the war effort. >> they travel something like
50,000 miles in the course of the war around the united kingdom. visiting troops. visiting hospitals. visiting factories. they are everywhere. >> she is this effective wartime queen. she is sympathetic. she is there meeting the people. it is said that hitler caused calls queen elizabeth the most dangerous woman in europe because she fears her massive effect on public morale. >> advance britannia, long live the cause of freedom, god save the king. >> after six long years of war, hitler is defeated. when victory in europe is declared, the royal family and winston churchill appear on the palace balcony to celebrate with the crowds.
>> my grandfather's admiration and respect for the crown doing its duty in a country under great pressure was probably the most important thing in his entire life. >> it was just completely mad. it was joyous. and everybody was singing and dancing. >> george broadcast the victory speech to the nation that evening that my grandfather listened to. >> at this hour, when the dreadful shadow of war has passed far from our house and homes -- >> my grandfather makes notations in his diary that the king sounded weary and tired.
>> we may at last make one pause for thanksgiving. >> the war comes at a huge personal cost for george vi. to the extent that he is a broken man who's not in the best of health. >> the shadow of war may have lifted. but within george's own family, peace will soon be disrupted by a new man in the life of his eldest daughter.
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the second world war has been over for a year. and at balmoral castle in scotland, the 20-year-old elizabeth is deep in conversation with prince phillip of greece. >> well, of course he was so good looking. i mean, we were all in love with him. >> prince phillip of greece is a direct descendent of queen victoria, just as princess elizabeth of great britain is also a direct descendent of queen victoria. and this makes them third cousins. >> prince phillip was the fifth child of prince andrew of greece. he had four much older sisters. and within a year and a bit of his life starting, the royal family was overthrown in greece.
it was a military coup. and the family had to flee. >> he comes from a broken home. his father has a mistress in monte carlo. his mother's been shut up for mental health problems. he never sees her. and so he's very rootless. >> somebody described phillip as a very large dog without a basket. >> when in england, phillip stays with his uncle. the king's cousin, lord louis mountbatten. >> i think my grandmother, mountbatten really took on that role. i think he became even more than an uncle. >> he's sort of impressed by what he sees in the young prince philip, and he starts to have these sort of ambitions for him. >> princess elizabeth first noticed phillip seven years earlier at the royal naval college in dartmouth. >> in 1939, when princess
elizabeth was a little girl of 13 and prince philip was 18 and a naval cadet, the king and the queen, with their two daughters, came to the cottage. they played croquet. prince phillip, concentrating on his shot, and there is little princess elizabeth gazing up at him. >> she was smitten, i'm sure, very, very quickly. never looked back, frankly. it was a big love story. >> the feeling was that it had been mountbatten who engineered this. >> elizabeth and phillip wrote letters to each other throughout the war and elizabeth had a photograph of phillip beside her bed. and when the war was over, they began to see each other really rather frequently. >> and when he asked her to marry him in 1946, elizabeth says yes to phillip. but of course, she has to ask her father's permission.
>> phillip's proposal came as a nasty shock to the king and the queen. prince phillip would not have been their first choice. i mean, he was a foreign prince and had a lot of german connections. >> after the war, there is a great deal of anti-german sentiment in the royal household. the problem for phillip is that three of his sisters were married to nazis. and therefore, there is a great deal of suspicion around phillip. >> the king's private secretary thought that phillip was a rough, crude, coarse sailor who would probably be unfaithful, and he didn't trust him an inch. >> the king does consent to the marriage but on the condition that they postpone the announcement of the engagement until after the royal visit to south africa. the king hopes that a little bit of separation between elizabeth and philip will mean perhaps the love will cool a little. >> they go on this tour in 1947
to thank the south african people for the support given to blinn during the second world war. princess elizabeth has never been out of the country before, so this is the first opportunity for her to unfurl her wings, and she gets a great deal of enjoyment out of this experience. >> while they're on this trip to south africa on her 21st birthday, princess elizabeth gives a radio broadcast. and this is a key moment in her life. >> i declare before you all that my whole life, whether it be long or short, shall be devoted to your service. >> princess elizabeth, unlike her uncle edward, vows to devote herself to a lifetime of public duty when she is crowned queen. >> now, that is a deliberately anti-abdication speech. this is for life. i will not abdicate.
>> when she made that vow, felt it deeply and meant it, every word of it. and has stuck to it throughout her life. >> after elizabeth returns from south africa, she is still adamant she wants to marry prince phillip. >> londoners who have been waiting outside the palace for hour made their feelings perfectly clear when princess and her fiance came out onto the balcony. >> phillip is going to marry into the royal family. you can't really do that without a handle to your name, without a title. and he becomes duke of edinburgh. >> she just looked so radiant. always calm. and also, it was so glamorous. you know, everybody, suddenly
it has just been announced from buckingham palace that her royal highness, president -- was safely delivered at 9:14 p.m. >> buckingham palace in november, 1948, prince charles is born. almost exactly a year after the birth, prince philip takes up -- the princess comes out to join them. >> i think that when they were together, it was only time in their married life when they lived like normal people. mexico go to dances, go swimming, go to the hairdressers. she felt such freedom. she loved it.
>> i think that must have been the best two years of their lives. of course, she had to come back to reality. back to england. >> sympathetic routes with the palace, waiting for news. he was to undergo a mediate surgery. >> he needed to have an operation for the removal of one of his lungs. the king had lung cancer. the operation itself seems to be successful. the king and his -- convinces himself he is getting better. >> even though george feels he is on the mend, there is a trip that he has been planning to do. he is not up to it. he asked princess elizabeth and prince philip to go instead. met five days after his daughter arrives in kenya, at home at the age of just 56, the
king dies. >> princess elizabeth is already the queen the moment her father dies thousands of miles away. they had to get the message to her before the news is announced on the radio. communications in 1952 are very, very difficult. >> the palace sends out a coded message to communicate. there is a problem. >> the code had to be deciphered and nobody had the code big. the palace thinks elizabeth will be told. the palace tells the world. they tell the world that elizabeth doesn't know. >> her private secretary is in the local town when he hears that the king has died. at this point, it is unconfirmed. >> she was in a room at the time. on the radio. they went in and took the radio out of the room.
the secretary hears that the king is actually dead. prince philip is told. >> prince philip asked to go to princess elizabeth. you better go for a walk outside. in the garden, he breaks the news that her father has died. >> elizabeth is only 25. she has lost the father she adored. he was her mentor, her guide. she was utterly devoted to him. >> he demonstrated to her the meaning of duty. she never expected she would lose him so soon. >> one reign has ended, another
begins. all await the queen's arrival. >> my grandfather was worried. he didn't know at all, there was a generational difference. he would have thought, oh my goodness. what will i talked to her about? >> there she was. this very vulnerable young woman having to take on what she was going to have to do. i think we were sort of dumbfounded really. we weren't expecting that to happen. >> she took on this huge job immediately on top of being very, very sad that she lost her father. >> the opportunity was given for the people to pay tribute. soon, they were passing into the hall of over 4000 every hour. for the measure of public sorrow and sympathy. >> there is an incredibly striking image at george's funeral of the three queens.
these incredibly dramatic black avails -- veils. it is an image of complete desolation really. total grief. >> they had a black avails over the faces. poor queen elizabeth. the queen, very young indeed. >> no one knows what was going through her mines. how devastated she must be. >> the queen is now the head of the royal family. it is her responsibility. she has the biggest job in the world and everyone is watching to see whether she can succeed. >> next on the windsor's,
philip and elizabeth are a golden couple. behind the scenes, he is restless. >> there are rumors that there might be cracks in the queens marriage. >> her sisters actually involved with a divorced man. >> whether there is a conflict, it is duty that comes first. >> the latest in a long line of brides prepared to join the most celebrated royal family on earth. meghan markle will marry into a world of grand tradition and vast wealth. >> my whole life shall be devoted to your service. >> all that glitters is not gold. for 100 years,