The lives, times and travails of famous people are always a subject of interest to those less fortunate to enjoy such lifestyles. That is why there is a veritable industry of paparazzi journalism.
However, a more genteel perspective into such famous peoples' lives is that of art - films and drama. While it may not always be possible to capture all the nuances that go into making a famous person's life or even a day, there have been a score of such attempts, to inquire into the history and details of the magnificence, good and bad, of the British monarchy.
On the occasion of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and that of the first of her two official birthdays - 21 April - IBTimes UK looks at some of the more remarkable portrayals of the Queens of the United Kingdom, on celluloid...
A historic film written by Michael Hirst, directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Cate Blanchett in the title role of Queen Elizabeth I, this period-drama depicts the transformation of a young, in-love princess into one of history's greatest and most ruthless rulers. It is pictured in a period of great religious and political turmoil. The movie opens with a horrifying scene of three people being burned alive for their Protestant religious views.
The plot goes follows Queen Elizabeth, a Protestant, as she takes the throne after the death of her Roman Catholic sister, Queen Mary. Her religious beliefs, combined with a desire to solidify alliances with other nations, lead to much intrigue in her court and even result in threats on her life. Her one true love - Robert Dudley, the Earl of Leicester - then interferes with her court advisers who wish to have her marry one of England's allies. Only after the ruthless decision to eliminate all of her enemies does Queen Elizabeth ensure total control. The movie is rich in art direction, cinematography and beautiful costumes.
Shakespeare in Love (1998)
"Shakespeare in Love" is a delightful romantic comedy with a literary twist and is a fictionalised account of a few months of Shakespeare's life. Although this does not picturise the royal family in particular, Queen Elizabeth I plays a big part in the plot as a prominent supporter of English theater. The film stars Joseph Fiennes as William Shakespeare and Gwyneth Paltrow as Viola de Lesseps. Paltrow won an Oscar for her portrayal of the cross-dressing actress who auditioned for the part of Romeo.
"The Queen" (2006)
The film revolves around the turmoil the Royal Family went through, after the death of Diana, the Princess of Wales, in 1997. Set against a backdrop of the public mourning the death of "the People's Princess", the film looks at the relationships between the Queen and her family, the newly popular Prime Minister (Tony Blair) and the British people. The film is ultimately sympathetic to all the major characters.
Helen Mirren's portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II truly owned this film and took it to a higher level. The monarch is often portrayed in less-than-favorable light but this movie didn't seem to pass judgment on the Queen and carefully illustrated her as a truly complex character. Michael Sheen is also stunningly convincing and charismatic as Blair. Although a central figure in the story, the character of Princess Diana is taken from archives of news footage. The film was directed by Stephen Frears and written by Peter Morgan and won Mirren the Oscar for Best Actress. It was nominated for six other awards and the Bafta for Best Film and Best Leading Actress.
"Elizabeth: The Golden Age" (2007)
This sequel to "Elizabeth" (1998) talks about various political crises that Elizabeth I faced, during the latter part of her 45-year reign. Australian actress Cate Blanchett reprised her role as Elizabeth I and was as convincing as ever, as she portrayed one woman's journey to control her love, destroy her enemies and secure her position as a beloved icon of the western world. When the Royal Family's reign was threatened by family betrayal and Spain's invading army, her shrewd advisers and herself acted to save the lives of their people. However, when a dashing seafarer by the name of Walter Raleigh, captures her heart, she is forced to make her most tragic sacrifice for the good of her country.
The screenplay was written by William Nicholson and Michael Hirst and the music score was composed by AR Rahman and Craig Armstrong.
"The Young Victoria" (2009)
"The Young Victoria" is a story about a headstrong woman in her early twenties fighting hard to hold on to the throne, in a male-dominated political system, while handling a romantic relationship with her beloved, Albert. The film starred Emily Blunt as the young Victoria and Rupert Friend as her love, it was directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by screenwriter Julian Fellowes.