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I caught up on the history shows hosted by Lucy Worsley using PBS Passport, a benefit of membership in my local PBS station.
My initial encounters with Lucy Worsley were via pirated videos on YouTube, so I’m glad that I can go legit with PBS. In the past year, I made a bit of a study of Secrets of the Six Wives, extended my Christmas season with 12 Days of Tudor Christmas, and enhanced Valentine’s Day with A Very British Romance.
Over the summer, PBS aired three more Lucy Worsley specials.
First, was the three-part series on Royal Myths and Secrets, each focused on a different queen. Apparently our history books were wrong.
Elizabeth I was given too much credit for the defeat of the Spanish Armada.
Queen Anne wasn’t given enough credit for victories in the War of the Spanish Succession or for the role she played in bringing Scotland into a united Great Britain.
Marie Antoinette probably never said “let them eat cake.” This episode, naturally, was mostly filmed in France, but toward the end, Worsley takes us on a little exploration to discover how the French Revolution is seen differently in France, the UK (including a juicy bit about Madame Tussauds), and the US.
Next, was a one-part special called “Lucy Worsley’s Royal Photo Album” where she explores the role of photography in the last 200 years of the monarchy. Naturally, we get to see many photographs!
Finally, the most recent special is about Royal Palace Secrets. I loved how this one was a kind of “make lemonade” show. Obviously, the staff of royal palaces like Worsley (her title is curator of Historic Royal Palaces), would prefer to have visitors filling the palace halls. But, given the pandemic, this is a perfect time for filming the palaces in ways that aren’t usually possible. We don’t get to see actors playing historic characters, like a usual Lucy Worsley production, but she still dresses in costumes, talks directly to us through the camera, and tells terrific stories. I loved this chance to visit the Tower of London, Hampton Court, and Kensington Palace in a more intimate fashion than I could in real life.
Have you seen these shows? What did you think?