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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and informative
In this 12 episode documentary Nigel Spivey traces the lives and reigns of 12 of England's most interesting monarchs taking us from 1066 to the 21st century.
Starting with William the Conqueror, we are given the background to his conflict for the throne with Harold Godwinson, and his invasion of England, the Battle of Hastings and William's tyrannical and cruel...
Published 20 months ago by Gary Selikow

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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars kings and queens dvd
An informative record of the lives of some British monarchs, more of an educational item rather than for its entertainment value.
Published on 4 Sep 2012 by blees


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Engaging and informative, 28 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Kings and Queens [DVD] (DVD)
In this 12 episode documentary Nigel Spivey traces the lives and reigns of 12 of England's most interesting monarchs taking us from 1066 to the 21st century.
Starting with William the Conqueror, we are given the background to his conflict for the throne with Harold Godwinson, and his invasion of England, the Battle of Hastings and William's tyrannical and cruel ravishing of the North of England. For this we are informed he showed remorse, and an interesting conclusion to this episode is that William grew so fat that at his burial his body actually burst open when put in the coffin.
In Henry II Spivey remarks how Henry's Queen Eleanor of Aquitaine was described as lascivious, which today as the presenter lets us know means sexy. Certainly all accounts I have read of Eleanor is that she was an alluring and highly sexed woman. Spivey traces here the well known conflict between Henry and St Thomas Beckett, a pious if self-righteous man, a clash of two strong personalities. He points out that Henry while ranting furiously about Beckett did not actually say 'Can anyone rid me of this turbulent priest' and almost certainly had no idea his words would lead five of his knights to ride to Westminster Abby and assassinate Becket.

His summary of Edward I's reign is of a man determined to be king over the whole island of Great Britain, who violently amalgamated Wales into the English crown, oppressed Ireland, and inflicted bloody warfare on the Scots, the period being best known for the resistance to English domination by the Scots patriot William Wallace. Edward I also issued the Edict of expulsion of the Jews from England, which Spivey informs us was an extremely popular move.

Spivey gives us the darker side of Henry V, who was certainly power hungry and a lover of war. He has French soldiers executed in large numbers at Agincourt, against all conventions of warfare of the time in Europe.
In his coverage of Richard III, Spivey does not recount a sympathetic portrayal of events and he gives Richard's motives for getting the Princes in the tower out of the way, and also claims that only Richard had access to the young princes. Henry VIII, the glutinous and sex mad monarch who broke with Rome, for his own personal needs is covered ina s much detail as can be done in 25 minutes, and one would have to look elsewhere to learn more of his six wives.

Insights into the reign of the so-called Virgin Queen, the great Elizabeth I, and posits the possibility of the Queen having a condition such as having a membrane that made sex impossible which would mean she could never have produced an heir under any circumstances. We also see how Elizabeth was very remorseful on hearing of the execution of Mary, Queen of Scots, that she had signed.

Charles I gives us an eye into a sensitive and reserved soul, yet one who believed passionately in the divine right of Kings, leading to the Civil War and his execution, Charles II a licentious and frivolous libertine who brought peace back to England, and the episode of George III covers bot the American War of Independence and the insanity which clouded his last decades, we know now as Spivey tells us that he suffered from a condition known as porphyria.

A glimpse into the personal life of Queen Victoria, and how Disraeli brought her out of mourning for her beloved Albert to embrace her role of Empress of India, ruling a large slice of the planet from her living room. And the concluding episode on the present monarch Elizabeth II discusses the dominant role of the media, the fallout from the Aberfan tragedy of 1966 and the death of Princess Diana in 1997. When in 1981 Queen Elizabeth made a speech about world poverty, there were accusations that she cared more about the welfare of the Commonwealth than of the people of Britain. The truth is that almost all of the elites in Britain today including successive governments in recent decades have cared more about Third world poverty than for the poverty of Britain's under-classes. Think of David Cameron's cutting of benefits to the disabled, pensioners and single mothers while pledging greater and greater amounts of aid to developing nations.

Spivey informs us with a relaxed and engaging style, with the aid of recreated battle scenes and dramatizations.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Kings & Queens, 9 May 2011
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An excellent documentry in every way.
Full of knowledge and information that fills in the gaps.
Helps one to understand the period and the royals of the time in question.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Watchable and informative, 16 April 2008
This review is from: Kings and Queens [DVD] (DVD)
I missed this when it was on television and bought it on recomendation. It's relaxed, deep enough to give an understanding of the eras and who was who without ever getting too caught up in itself, and rattles along at quite a pace yet still retains an air of easy going style.
If you want a good guide to who did what and when, this is for you. Two discs is easy to get through and worth repeated viewings.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kings & Queens, 25 May 2013
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"Nigel Jonathan Spivey is a British academic. He teaches classical art and archaeology at the University of Cambridge, where he is a Fellow of Emmanuel College. He has written extensively on the Etruscans and on the Olympic Games."
Having never heard of Nigel Spivey previously, I assumed whilst watching the DVDs that his subject, or one of his subjects, would be history. At the risk of appearing somewhat churlish, there is an implied moot that his subject would be history, nevertheless he does deliver the material in a very authoritative and confident manner and his delivery is very easy going and likeable. Not only that, but he does cover some considerable amount of ground in a very short time-frame and no doubt I will enjoy watching these DVDs again.
However, whoever researched this material - I am far from sure that it was Nigel Spivey himself - has made some laughable factual mistakes and it is a wonder that NS did not pick up on them himself. Richard III's body was NOT dumped in a river as NS relates, but as most people are aware, it was found under a council carpark in Leicester. I am sorry , but factual errors of this sort really peeve me in historical material, and whilst the bulk of it is good, these factual errors rather spoil it for me. I was thinking of three stars, but on reflection that may be a tad harsh for a few inaccuracies in an otherwise credible production.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kings & Queens, 25 July 2013
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Having seen other DVD's about the monarchy of Britain, I just wanted to see what this had to offer. I wasn't disappointed but felt or would have rather had a bit more time on each monarch. It was interesting but also missed a number of monarchs; such as William of Orange and Queen Anne whom I felt both (historically) were very much and worthwhile presenting. But unfortunately...
The series came through to the present day, but even then I felt a little disappointed, due to the fact that I felt too much emphasis was given to the 'Brand' of the House of Windsor and not really to the persons behind it.
But all in all a worthwhile and interesting view.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kings and Queens DVD, 16 Nov 2012
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A very interesting look at some of England's more well known kings and queens. I wish each programme had been longer but I still found it fascinating. The DVD also contained new information. Not something for the serious historian but a very good starting point
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best bargains for a documentary i have found yet on Amazon, 9 Nov 2012
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This review is from: Kings and Queens [DVD] (DVD)
I was not expecting much for the price I paid for this documentary..but this documenary surprisingly was as good or even better than many of the very high priced quality documentaries such as David Starkey's "Monarchs" (although it was very good as well). The presenter is a Cambridge university professer and is very informative and pleasant to watch (sober personality and non-ego-centric). It is a little over 4.5 hours long..and he covers the time from the Normans up till Elizabeth II and the present. I only wished the documentary was 4 times longer..but nevertheless what there is it is fairly well covered .. (Even in 4.5 hours)

I highly recommend this...and really it is undervalued.(but maybe should not tell about that)
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Insights on Kings & Queens DVD, 24 Oct 2012
By 
Malcolm (Edlesborough, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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This review is from: Kings and Queens [DVD] (DVD)
This (2 disc) DVD set, presented by Dr Nigel Spivey a Fellow
of Emmanuel College, Cambridge is an interesting overview
of the lives and reigns of twelve monarchs over almost a
thousand years.

DISC ONE includes, William the Conqueror and the invasion
of 1066, Henry II and his relationship with his friend and
Chancellor, Thomas a Becket. This is followed with Edward I
the Hammer of the Scots and the monarch famous for his Edict
of Expulsion against the Jews.
Next comes Henry V, who Shakespeare gave us to believe was
a great hero, despite butchering the majority of the French
nobility.
Richard III, the last of the Plantagenet monarchs who may have
ordered the murder of the Princes in the Tower, and the last
English King killed on the battle field.
This disc finishes with Henry VIII he of the six wives and the
king who dissolved the monasteries with a stroke of the pen.

DISC TWO starts with Elizabeth I, "the virgin queen" and the
Elizabethan age. Following on we have Charles I and an end to
the rule of absolute monarchy, he dissolved Parliament so often
that he was beheaded. His son Charles II brings us back to the
restoration of the monarchy, Nell Gwynne and lots of illegitimate
children.
George III is then featured as the King that lost the American
colonies, his 'madness' or porphyria as it was later thought
to be, and the age of Constitutional Monarchy.
The final two monarchs are Queen Victoria, and Queen Elizabeth II
our current reigning monarch.

Each segment was a 30 minutes broadcast covering these 12 lives,
creating on this DVD set over 270 minutes of viewing.
Well presented in a concise and educational narration.
Worth watching.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars kings and queens dvd, 4 Sep 2012
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An informative record of the lives of some British monarchs, more of an educational item rather than for its entertainment value.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How similar different races can be despite being separated by thousands of miles, 11 Aug 2012
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Kings and Queens [DVD]
I was pleased with the dvd, which although it did not include all the kings and queens, picked out the more interesting ones.
I learned alot about the whys and hows of their reigns but i was astounded to learn just how barbaric these kings and queens could be, doing the same things that kings and queens in "less" civilized societies, as we are taught, conduct themselves. Thus the conclusion can be made that all societies are just as barbaric or just civilized as the next.
Good dvd, i woud recommend it.
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