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Bertie and Elizabeth (2002)

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

Director:

Giles Foster

Writer:

Nigel Williams
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
James Wilby ... Bertie
Alan Bates ... King George V
Eileen Atkins ... Queen Mary
Dolly Wells ... Princess Mary
William Mickleburgh ... James Stuart
Juliet Aubrey ... Elizabeth
Barbara Leigh-Hunt ... Lady Mabell Airlie
Rupert Wickham Rupert Wickham ... Equerry
Charles Edwards ... David
Alexandra Staden ... Young Woman
Nicholas Pritchard Nicholas Pritchard ... J.C. Davidson
Oliver Ford Davies ... Archbishop Lang
Geoffrey Beevers Geoffrey Beevers ... Earl of Strathmore
Deborah Cornelius ... Thelma Furness
Michael Elwyn ... Lionel Logue
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Storyline

The Duke of York, nicknamed "Bertie" (James Wilby), 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 (Juliet Aubrey), and their daughters, in the shadow of their reigning father, George V (Sir Alan Bates), and next that of his elder brother, who later succeeded to the British throne as Edward VIII. However, Edward decides to put his love for divorced American, Wallis Simpson (Amber Sealey), above dynastic duty, and ends up abdicating the throne, which falls to Bertie, who reigns as King George VI. He expects to be, as constitutional monarch, little more then a figure head, but again, fate has other ideas: Nazi Germany proves to be 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 ... Written by KGF Vissers

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Certificate:

TV-PG | See all certifications »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Denis Lill (Clement Attlee) played King George VI in The Gathering Storm (1974) and his paternal grandfather King Edward VII in Lillie (1978). See more »

Goofs

In one scene where the King and the Queen are watching a German newsreel covering the Duke of Windsor's visit to Germany, Tommy Lascelles can be heard translating the German text for the King. But in reality, this would have been unnecessary as both the King and the Queen could speak German. See more »

Quotes

[Edward VIII aka David is playing his own composition on the bagpipes]
Thelma Furness: I always think it's so clever to have the bagpipes as one's show-off, because no-one has the faintest idea whether you are playing them well... or badly.
See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

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

User Reviews

 
A significantly condensed version, but charming
16 October 2005 | by ksdennisSee all my reviews

The film is missing some of Elizabeth's most famous remarks, even though they are alluded to, such as (and these are facsimiles): "I can now look the east end in the face." and "They {the Princesses} won't leave without me. I won't leave without the King. And the King will never leave." etc.

It flies through history as a series of vignettes, arguably not necessarily the most important ones. It explains little about the psychology of the major characters, especially George VI's stutter, how instrumental his wife was helping him during his reign, her deep antipathy for Wallis, and Wallis's lack of understanding of her surroundings, England and the court. Wallis is portrayed with a complete lack of sympathy. ("Edward and Mrs. Simpson" this isn't!)

The movie seems to contain glaring inaccuracies. If a royal highness by marriage, Wallis couldn't have passed this title on to any subsequent husband and, surely, the King would know this. The title was withheld - against custom and precedent - for many other reasons which are not explored at all. This is unfortunate.

Nevertheless, the performances are wonderful, especially James Wilby as George VI; Juliet Aubrey as Elizabeth;, Alan Bates as George V; Eileen Atkins as Queen Mary; and Charles Edwards as an Edward VIII with a complete lack of appreciation that with great advantages from birth come great obligations.

For the knowledgeable viewer, it's like looking through bits of a sentimental picture book. It's comfort food: sentimental, warm, and lacking in much nutritional value. Remember, however, the subjects (George VI and Queen Elizabeth) were, and remain, tremendously popular and this view may be very much a reflection of its time. And, having no idea of what really went on behind the walls of the royal residences, it is fun to have the illusion of being able to look.


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Details

Official Sites:

PBS [United States]

Country:

UK

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 June 2002 (UK) See more »

Also Known As:

Bertie e Elizabeth See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

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Color:

Color
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