Windsors: A Royal Dynasty

The Second Elizabethan Age

Season 1, Episode 3 of 4

The episode begins with Queen Elizabeth II's accession to the throne in 1952. Her glamorous sister, Margaret, finally decides to settle down and pins her heart on the divorcee Peter Townsend. The public loved this fairytale story of a beautiful princess being in love with the dashing war hero. The Queen and the constitution did not. Margaret was given an ultimatum; Townsend or her titles and privileges - she chose the latter. In 1981 The Queen's son and heir, Prince Charles, after a succession of missed chances, finally married the right girl (or so we thought at the time), a certain Lady Diana Spencer. As the 80's progress the Windsor Dynasty reaches crisis point. Princess Anne is the first to break her marriage vows when she divorces fellow equestrian, Mark Phillips. Other royals follow. Prince Charles' cover is blown (it's confirmed that he's had a mistress for most of his marriage to Diana). The crowning humiliation came in the early 90s when Diana master-minded a terrible frank biography of her miserable years as Charles' wife. Windsor Castle went up in flames. 1992 would be The Queen's 'Annus Horribilis'. The worst was still to come. Diana's death would leave two young princes, William and Harry, without a mother and a family and country in a state of shock. The new century would see the incredible recovery of public goodwill, from The Queen's Golden Jubilee to her 80th birthday, to the happy marriage of Charles and Camilla and to the emergence of the new generation Princes William and Harry.

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