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It was quite an event when the daringly non-royal Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon 
married Prince Albert, the Duke of York, in Westminster Abbey in 1923.

And what a breath of modernising fresh 
air she brought to the stuffy institution.

The Queen Mum, as she would come to be known, charmed everyone she met and was a rock to her fragile husband Bertie when he was forced to become king in 1936.

With rare archive footage and photographs, as well as comment from historians and royal experts, this two-part film delivers fascinating insights into the life of one of the most popular royals in history.

A must for fans of The Crown and The King’s Speech.

TV Times rating: ****

King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (then Prince Albert, the Duke of York and Lady Elizabeth Bowes Lyon) pictured around the time of their engagement in 1923

Here, royal biographer Jane Ridley, who appears in the documentary, tells us more…

What did Elizabeth think about being forced on to the throne?

She was pretty distraught. They’d lived this very secluded existence. Suddenly to be catapulted into the position of monarch was terrifying.

Bertie found the attention a struggle, didn’t he?

The Queen could see he was uneasy with the public so she started taking the lead.

She’d do impromptu walkabouts and talk to people – make them feel she’d come just to
see them.

Were her visits to France and America triumphs, too?

Yes. During one visit the Roosevelts wanted to give the royals a typical American dish – a hot dog, which they had never seen in their lives! The Queen ate hers with a knife and fork but the spirit in which they embraced it won American hearts.