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Moving images of the British monarchy, in fact and fiction, are almost as old as the moving image itself, dating back to an 1895 dramatic vignette, The Execution of Mary Queen of Scots. Led by Queen Victoria, British monarchs themselves appeared in the new 'animated photography' from 1896. Half a century later, the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II was a milestone in the adoption of television, watched by 20 million Britons and 100 million North Americans. At the century's end, Princess Diana's funeral was viewed by 2.5 billion worldwide. Seventeen essays by international commentators examine the portrayal of royalty in the 'actuality' picture, the early extended feature, amateur cinema, the movie melodrama, the Commonwealth documentary, New Queer Cinema, TV current affairs, the big screen ceremonial and the post-historical boxed set. These contributors include Ian Christie, Elisabeth Bronfen, Andrew Higson, Steven Fielding, Karen Lury, Glyn Davis, Ann Gray, Jane Landman, Victoria Duckett, Jude Cowan Montague, James Downs, Barbara Straumann, Deirdre Gilfedder, Jo Stephenson, Ruth Adams, Erin Bell, Basil Glynn and Nicola Rehling.

How the monarchy manages its image and our money

The British royal family has experienced a resurgence in public interest in recent years. During the same period, global inequalities have expanded, leaving huge chasms of wealth inequality between ‘the elites’ and ‘the rest’. Yet, the monarchy is mostly absent from conversations about contemporary inequalities, dismissed as an archaic and irrelevant institution. This is the only book to argue that we cannot talk about inequalities in Britain today without talking about the monarchy.

Running the Family Firm is about the contemporary British monarchy (1953 to present). It argues that media representations (of, for example, royal ceremonies or royal babies) are the ‘frontstage’ of monarchy: this is what we usually see. Meanwhile, ‘backstage’, there are a host of political-economic infrastructures that reproduce the institution: this is what we don’t typically see. This book pulls back the stage curtain of monarchy and exposes what is usually hidden: how it looks versus how it makes its money and power.

Drawing on case studies of key royal figures – the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince Harry, Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle – the book argues that media representations of the royal family are carefully stage-managed to ‘produce consent’ for monarchy in the public imagination. That is, the corporate power of monarchy (the Firm) is disguised through media representations of the royal family (the Family Firm). In so doing, the book probes conventional understandings of monarchy, and offers a unique and radical answer to the question ‘why does monarchy matter?’

Open Access (free)
Charles V. Reed

Abbey, celebrated a British monarchy revitalised by the duke and duchess. A century earlier in 1901, William’s great-great-grandparents the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, the future King George V and Queen Mary, were on a worldwide tour of the British Empire. The most ambitious royal tour of the empire to date, their travels had been planned by Joseph Chamberlain and the duke

in Royal tourists, colonial subjects and the making of a British world, 1860–1911
Open Access (free)
The King’s Speech as melodrama
Nicola Rehling

In his review of The King’s Speech (Tom Hooper, 2010), Guardian critic Peter Bradshaw remarks that the Oscar-winning film shows ‘some cheek at presenting an English monarch as the underdog’. 1 However, although melodrama traditionally ‘sides with the powerless’, 2 it has become a common mode through which the British monarchy is represented in contemporary British

in The British monarchy on screen
Abstract only
The post-royals
Laura Clancy

of this book. Commercialisation and corporate capital Harry and Meghan's resignation prompted a series of media and public debates about the commercialisation of the British monarchy. In the majority, it seems to be Meghan who is blamed (couched in racist and sexist language, see Chapter 7 ) for exposing the Firm to the ‘vulgar world’ of corporate capitalism. In the Daily Mail , the commentator Max Hastings criticised the ‘vulgar Hollywoodising of the young royals’ due to Meghan's introduction, and the media consultant Sara Flanagan said in the Guardian

in Running the Family Firm
The republican referendums in South Africa and Rhodesia
Christian D. Pedersen

, culminating in two bruising referendums called respectively by the prime ministers of Afrikaner-dominated South Africa (1960) and the rebel state of Rhodesia (1969). These events marked the first and second time the British monarchy was dissolved by whites by popular vote and, as such, signalled bad tidings for the future of Britishness as a global civic idea. In these contexts, the chapter argues

in The break-up of Greater Britain
The British and Sri Vikrama Rajasinha, 1815
Robert Aldrich

Ceylon, though many nationalists harked back to an idealised Kandyan monarchy as a fount of Sinhalese culture, identity and independence. The British Crown as successor to the Kandyan throne Sri Vikrama Rajasinha and his dynasty out of the way, the British monarchy and its viceregal representatives assumed the place of the Kandy monarchy, while extending

in Banished potentates
Mandy Merck

, that the ambiguous ‘concern’ about the strike expressed in a palace press release indicated a royal regard for ordinary Britons’ welfare not shared by the elected government of Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. That belief, Williamson argued, has been bolstered by the British monarchy’s cultivation of a middle-class domestic image since the reign of Victoria. In ‘incorporating both

in The British monarchy on screen
James Chapman

.’ It transpires that Peregrinus, true to the legend, is actually Richard in disguise. In the next episode, ‘Richard the Lionheart’, the king, who has returned incognito to seek out those who remain loyal, tells Robin that ‘I would grant you and your men public pardons, except that it would reveal my presence here’. The pro-royalist ideology of The Adventures of Robin Hood might on the face of it sit somewhat uneasily with American sensibilities, given that the United States has historically prided itself on breaking away from the British monarchy. Significantly

in Swashbucklers
Miles Taylor

Commonwealth of Nations are republics. So, looking back, historians tend to see the Crown as imposed upon the colonies without their consent. To explain the salience of the royal connection, historians turn to culture and ideology, taking as given that the Crown has only a symbolic rather than a real function overseas. Invoking an influential book of 1983, the idea of the British monarchy as an ‘invented

in Crowns and colonies