11 January 2011 1:59 AM, PST | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Like most British dramas about the monarchy, The King's Speech skates over the less savoury aspects of royal history

The King's Speech is another addition to the royal family's filmography, a vast body of work that has played an underappreciated but insidious role in maintaining support for the monarchy.

The royal family – always the worst judges of their own self-interest – initially discouraged the production of dramatisations of themselves by making their displeasure known to those censors who vigorously policed stage and screen. In 1937 the lord chamberlain even issued a formal ban on the portrayal of sovereigns on the stage until a century after their accession. This was undoubtedly meant to prevent dramatists writing about the recently abdicated Edward VIII. It did, however, mean that depictions of Queen Victoria could be shown on stage for the first time, as she came to the throne in 1837. Prior to that, even harmless dramas »

- Steven Fielding

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