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Bertie and Elizabeth (2002)

A chronicle of the life of George VI, who was forced to become King following the abdication of his brother Edward VIII, and his relationship with his wife, Elizabeth.




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Cast overview, first billed only:
James Stuart
Lady Mabell Airlie
Rupert Wickham ...
Young Woman
Nicholas Pritchard ...
J.C. Davidson
Geoffrey Beevers ...
Earl of Strathmore


The duke of York, nicknamed Bertie, was born as royal 'spare heir', younger brother to the prince of Wales, and thus expected to spend a relatively private life with his Scottish wife, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, and their daughters, in the shadow of their reigning father, George V, and next that of his elder brother, who succeeded to the British throne as Edward VIII. However, Edward decides to put his love for a divorced American, Wallis Simpson, above dynastic duty, and ends up abdicating the throne, which falls to Bertie, who reigns as George VI. He expects to be, as constitutional monarch, little more then a figure head, but again fate has other ideas: Nazi Germany proves such a formidable war challenger to the British Empire that the desperate nation looks to the royal couple as a comforting symbol of its unbroken spirit, a part they play with great success, while hosting chased monarchs and governments from continental Europe. After victory, life returns to normal, but pulmonary ... Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





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Release Date:

4 June 2002 (UK)  »

Also Known As:

Bertie e Elizabeth  »

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Did You Know?


In a career rarity, Robert Hardy appears in this film, but not as British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. Instead, he plays Churchill's counterpart, American President Franklin D. Roosevelt. See more »


A British Movietone Newsreel, complete with commentary, shows the Duke of York attending the Empire Exhibition at Wembley. This visit took place in October 1925 - not only is this four years before Movietone News began in Britain, but it is two years before sound film was invented. The Exhibition was covered by British Pathe News but the film is of course silent. See more »


[Queen Mary and Label Mabel Airlie notice that Bertie is taking an interest in Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon]
Queen Mary: I think my son is rather keen on the Strathmore girl.
Lady Mabel Airlie: I formed that impression too.
Queen Mary: We could do worse than marry Bertie to a member of the British aristocracy. I mean, *some* of them are quite respectable - yourself, for example.
Lady Mabel Airlie: Has it ever been done? Isn't royal blood supposed to be a unique asset? Surely she'd be the first commoner to marry into the royal family since, umm...
Queen Mary: Anne Boleyn.
Lady Mabel Airlie: Well...
See more »


Featured in The Story of the Costume Drama: The Stars (2008) See more »


If You Were the Only Girl (In the World)
Music by Nat Ayer (as Nat D. Ayer)
Lyrics by Clifford Grey
See more »

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User Reviews

Adequate but Not Extraordinary
22 April 2010 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I first became acquainted with this little docu-drama at some grocery store DVD stand and saw an ad for it on television many years ago. It seemed interesting but was never something I looked into until recently.

I checked out the reviews here first, and while I'm not quite finished watching it yet, I do say I have to agree with the majority; I am not well-versed in this particular part of history, but it does sound like there's probably plenty of inaccuracies, everything is rather glossed over, and oftentimes manages to be less compelling and more bland.

Which is not to say I do not like this film, because I do. It has a few admirable successes: all of the leads are superbly well acted, I do genuinely care about what is going on and occasionally get excited, the cinematography is quite good and I think the period set and costume pieces are lovely. In that respect, it's done its job.

However, possibly as a result of being a commissioned piece, the bleeding-heart patriotism and jingoism gets extremely tedious in places, particularly WWII, but in other places as well. I think the mini-series format might have been a better choice since it would have allowed for greater exploration of complex events, but given how the material was being handled, I doubt it would have changed things overly much or made a much more complex portrayal of the characters present.

While I'm definitely not going to run out and buy this on DVD - it's cute, but it's hardly worth that - it did make me more interested in the subject, so if I get some spare time I'd like to research that. So it is good for that, but judging it on its own merits, it is a little disappointing.

2 of 6 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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