The 25 Best Royal Movies You Can Watch Right Now
What's more entertaining than royalty? From real-life monarchs to rom-com princes, these are the royal movies sure to captivate your screen.
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The best films about royalty
The queen’s coronation, Princess Diana‘s interview, Prince William and Kate Middleton’s nuptials—high-spectacle royal events score big around the world (an estimated 1.9 billion people watched Prince Harry and Meghan Markle tie the knot, while 4 billion viewers tuned in to Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral services). We are obsessed with the idea of royalty, and our screens are awash with it. From high-glamour royal movies and docuseries like Harry & Meghan to cheesy fictional princes, royal comedies, history-approved drama movies and Netflix hits like The Crown, it’s hard not to be captivated by these gilded lives of privilege.
We rounded up some of the best movies about royals out there. Whether you want to dive into the complexities of the British royal family tree or see a French queen romp around Versailles, sit back, relax, put on a pot of tea and press play.
The royal: Queen Elizabeth II
Helen Mirren is absolutely brilliant as the royal matriarch Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen, which spotlights the reaction of both the British royal family and Prime Minister Tony Blair in the aftermath of Princess Diana’s death. The dialogue is clever, witty and often grim, and Mirren won the year’s Best Lead Actress Academy Award for her role. The entire movie left us wanting more of an insider’s look at the monarchy.
The royal: Princess Diana
Knowing now how much the young Princess Diana struggled emotionally within the royal family, it’s almost painful to watch Spencer. The Kristen Stewart–starring film takes place during Christmastime 1991 and explores media pressure, mental health and infidelity. From a young lady just trying to find her place within the world’s most famous family to a powerful voice for change, the People’s Princess becomes even more relatable thanks to Stewart’s depiction. You just want to embrace the real-life heroine whose life was cut short.
The King’s Speech
The royal: King George VI
One of the most award-winning royal movies, The King’s Speech is so superb, it took home four major Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Lead Actor, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay. The focus is on Queen Elizabeth’s father, King George VI (played by Colin Firth), who has a noticeable stammer. When he ascends the throne as king of England, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), hires a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush) to help the king overcome the speech impediment and eventually communicate to his country effectively during his 16-year reign.
The Princess Diaries
The royal: Princess Mia Thermopolis
Actress Anne Hathaway made a splash on the big screen in The Princess Diaries, about an ordinary high school girl who’s actually heir to the throne of the fictional country of Genovia. It’s both a fish-out-of-water story and a coming-of-age tale as we watch Mia navigate the ins and outs of royal life, with her formidable grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews), by her side. With a G rating, it quickly became one of the classic family movies perfect for kids of all ages.
The royal: King T’Challa
Do you have a buddy with no interest in royal movies? Remind them that the Academy Award–winning Black Panther involves a monarch. The visually stunning film not only has one of the best movie soundtracks, but it’s also got a stacked cast, including Michael B. Jordan, Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o and the late Chadwick Boseman. Boseman plays T’Challa, heir to the throne of the fictional African nation of Wakanda, who fights for his beloved country and the people who inhabit it.
The Young Victoria
The royal: Queen Victoria
The early years of Queen Victoria’s reign were rocky, to say the least. Thankfully, she had 63 years on the throne to smooth things out. Focusing on her turbulent younger days—Victoria was only 18 years old when she became head of the British monarchy—The Young Victoria has strong feminist themes, and Emily Blunt does a superb job of portraying this dramatized version of the royal’s life.
The Princess Bride
The royal: The Princess Bride
Did you actually experience the ’80s if you didn’t see The Princess Bride? Directed by Rob Reiner and starring Robin Wright, Billy Crystal and Cary Elwes, it’s a romantic comedy movie for the ages. A fictional tale told from the perspective of a grandfather to his sick grandson, the movie follows all sorts of characters as a handsome pirate races to find his true love, who just happens to be, you guessed it, an engaged princess named Buttercup. The epic movie is packed with memorable quotes and is great to watch as a family. You’ll love it.
The Last Emperor
The royal: Emperor Puyi
If you’re trying to hit all the classic movies, make sure to add The Last Emperor to your list. A dramatization based on the life of China’s last emperor, Puyi (hence the title), it won nine Oscars, including Best Picture. The Last Emperor highlights the old adage that one can appear to have everything but feel like they have nothing at all. Puyi was just 3 years old when he inherited the throne, and due to the Chinese Revolution, he abdicated in 1912, marking the end of the country’s 2,000-year-old monarchy.
The royal: Queen Cleopatra VII
Elizabeth Taylor was a vision as Egypt’s Queen Cleopatra in this sweeping 1965 epic. As our heroine attempts to keep her empire intact, she uses her feminine wiles to outwit the incoming Romans. What transpires is a particularly messy love triangle between Cleopatra, Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Thanks to the direction of Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Cleopatra won four Oscars. Watch this one when you’re feeling nostalgic for the golden days of Hollywood, and check out these classic movies that got terrible reviews when they came out.
The royal: Queen Elizabeth I
Long, long before we met Queen Elizabeth II or our newest queen consort, Camilla, there was Queen Elizabeth I, the daughter of King Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, who reigned in the second half of the 16th century. Cate Blanchett stars in the titular role in Elizabeth, about a young queen who grows from intelligent girl to strategic ruler. She wards off her enemies and the scrutiny of her advisors who endlessly urge her to marry. And in the end, she outsmarts them all to become one of the earliest females to successfully run a country without a man by her side.
Mary Queen of Scots
The royal: Mary, Queen of Scots
Considering we just mentioned Queen Elizabeth I, we’d be remiss not to bring up her cousin, Mary, in Mary Queen of Scots, one of the more recently notable royal movies. We get all the juicy family in-fighting here when Mary Stuart (Saoirse Ronan) tries to overthrow Elizabeth I (Margot Robbie) from her throne. Royalty can be ruthless!
Coming to America
The royal: Prince Akeem
It’s Eddie Murphy at his finest in Coming to America, the hit comedy that he both wrote and starred in. When a privileged African prince finds himself in the decidedly different environment of Queens, New York, he’s a real fish out of water. With his sidekick (Arsenio Hall), he impersonates an average New Yorker in an attempt to woo a strong woman who will accept him as he is. The film finally got a sequel in 2021 with Coming 2 America.
The Princess Switch
The royal: Prince Edward
We love a Parent Trap–style switcheroo, and that’s exactly what you get in this sweet Netflix film. Vanessa Hudgens plays Stacy, a competitive baker who finds herself competing in the fictional country of Belgravia. Low and behold, the country’s crown prince (Sam Palladio) is engaged to a woman who looks just like her, the Duchess of Montenaro (also played by Hudgens). The two women swap lives for a few days in this light-hearted and fun Netflix romance.
Wallis & Edward
Rated: Not rated
The royal: Prince Edward
As a royal watcher, you probably know that Queen Elizabeth II wouldn’t have inherited the throne had it not been for her uncle, Edward VIII, abdicating it. The TV movie Wallis & Edward follows the story of Prince Edward’s love affair with Wallis Simpson (the film is told from her perspective), an American divorcee. He gave up the opportunity to be king so that he could, instead, be with her. Now that’s a love story!
The royal: King Arthur
We love a good 14th-century knight’s tale. King Arthur, starring Clive Owen, Keira Knightley and Stephan Dillane, has it all: the quests of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table, Lady Guinevere (Knightley) and Sir Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd). The king and his crew must complete one final adventure in order to regain their freedom and return home to England. A different kind of royal movie, if you will, it’s a lot of sword-fighting fun with great action sequences and some royalty thrown in.
The royal: Marie Antoinette
Marie Antoinette, the storied queen of France, may not be a beloved royal, but she sure is iconic. Kirsten Dunst is captivating in this almost punk-like retelling of her villainous reign through her demise and the fall of Versailles. Keep in mind, she marries the hapless Louis XVI (played by Jason Schwartzman) when she’s just 14 and rules as queen for 19 years, before frolicking right to the guillotine!
The Man in the Iron Mask
The royal: King Louis XIV
While we’re discussing royal movies with French royalty, let’s dive into this Leonardo DiCaprio flick set in the 1660s, in which King Louis XIV has a secret twin brother. What the what? In The Man in the Iron Mask, the imprisoned twin is brought out to see the light of day when the monarchy hopes he can sub in for the actual king (who, by all accounts, is kind of a jerk).
The royal: Princess Ann
We love a reason to include an Audrey Hepburn film on a movie list, and Roman Holiday fits the bill. Hepburn plays Princess Ann, a bored royal on holiday in Rome. After ditching her royal watcher, the restless princess takes off to tour the Italian city on her own, meeting an American journalist (Gregory Peck) along the way. And, yeah, it’s possible some romance happens. If you haven’t seen this one yet, it’s one of the most quintessentially classic royal movies you’re sure to fall in love with.
The Lion King
The royal: Prince Simba
Listen up! Royal family feuds aren’t just relegated to humans. If The Lion King taught us anything, it’s that the Pride Lands can be vicious. As Prince Simba (Matthew Broderick), a young lion, prepares to inherit the kingdom from his father, King Mufasa (James Earl Jones), his villainous Uncle Scar (Jeremy Irons) threatens their family and the land. It may be an animated film, but The Lion King is a powerful story about family and believing in yourself.
The Prince & Me
The royal: Crown Prince Edvard
This isn’t your dull royal drama. An early-2000s romantic comedy, The Prince & Me stars Julia Stiles as an everyday college student who has a love-hate relationship with her classmate, Eddie (Luke Mably). An enemies-to-lovers tale ensues, and it turns out Eddie is actually Prince Edvard of Denmark. It’s the equivalent of meeting Prince William or Prince Harry in their younger days and having no idea they’re royalty. If you love rom-coms, this one’s for you.
The Last Princess
Rated: Not rated
The royal: Princess Deok-hye
Princess Deok-hye was born into Korea’s last royal family as the only daughter of the ex-Emperor Gojong. Her life (1912–1989) was nothing short of tragic. Starring Son Ye-jin, The Last Princess is a South Korean period drama (with subtitles available) that dramatizes her experience as a hostage of the Japanese government. She longs to return to her home in Korea, and fittingly, Seoul became her final resting place.
The royal: Queen Anne
It’s 18th-century England, and the reigning Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) is extremely frail, often irritable and always in poor health. (She suffered from gout, which was pretty common at the time.) The Favourite is a dark dramedy that follows a new maid, the menacing Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), who is engaged in an intense power struggle with Queen Anne’s trusted friend, Lady Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz). This one has loads of drama, but it’s based on a real story.
The Princess and the Frog
The royal: Princess Tiana and Prince Naveen
Not your average Disney princess, Tiana is an ambitious waitress and gifted cook with big dreams of starting her own restaurant. Things get just a tad complicated when, trying to do the good deed of turning a frog prince back into a human, she becomes a frog herself. Can nothing be easy? Set in Jazz Age New Orleans and among the mystical marshes of Louisiana, The Princess and the Frog is a twisty, hilarious tale of royal conundrums and fun for the whole family.
Anna and the King
The royal: King Mongkut
Anna and the King (based on a 1944 book by Margaret Landon) is a beautiful movie inspired by the real-life journals of British school teacher Harriette Leonowens. In the film, Leonowens (Jodie Foster) travels to Siam to provide educational instruction to the 58 children of King Mongkut. We love royal movies with romance, and there’s some of that, along with loose history and explorations of traditions during a time of immense change for Siam (or, as we know it today, Thailand).
The royal: Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire
If you’re a British-royals aficionado, you’ll be interested to know that Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, is actually an ancestor of Princess Diana—technically, Diana’s fourth-great-aunt. The Duchess, starring Keira Knightley, chronicles the bright 18th-century aristocrat Georgiana and her ups and downs, from her personal conflicts and passions (like her often-criticized interest in political affairs, even campaigning on behalf of the Whig Party) to her passionless marriage.