This magnificent set is all about the footage! I just finished DEVOURING the 4 individual dvd's and can't believe the film clips contained in each.
Yes, I am an unabashed Anglophile and yes, tomorrow I will be glued to BBC America all day watching the Diamond Jubilee celebrations on the Thames. My gold standard for the Windsors' stories has been the PBS documentary done years ago. In terms of storytelling, the PBS one is still ahead. However, in terms of film footage and anecdotes, this set is the one to have. The footage is not just in small clips, but pieces that might have comprised an entire movie newsreel. On the Coronation dvd, there is a great clip of the Queen in all of her robes entering Westminster through a special doorway - I guess it impressed me because I've never seen it before.
Overall, this set is meant to frame the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, so material is selected and presented in a manner which is flattering to her and the Windsor family. The first dvd is about George V and Queen Mary, and the family name change to Windsor. This is my least favorite of the four simply because the narration is rather dry. However, again, the film footage is just incredible. Youngest child, Johnnie, is mentioned only in passing though. The second dvd is about the Queen's immediate family, with emphasis on her father, George VI. This is one of my favorites of the set. I especially loved all of the footage of the King traveling to visit troops during WWII. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor are portrayed as the "bad" Windsors and the whole constitutional threat their relationship cause is just touched upon. Nevertheless, the film footage of "us four" as the King referred to his family is just wonderful. Again, I had seen some of it before, but just in bites - never the full serving. The family story, especially in the context of the times as well as fact that so many of their fellow European monarchs lost their thrones, is quite heroic and is presented as such in this dvd. Oh yes, and there is LOTS of footage of young Elizabeth and young Philip of Greece. Princess Margaret's love affair with Peter Townsend is kind of glossed over in this dvd as well as the others. The Coronation dvd is just splendid, with lots of background anecdotes. Again, the footage is outstanding. I loved the film of tiny Prince Charles watching as his mother was annointed, beaming from ear to ear. The last dvd is about the Queen and the events of her reign. This one is my favorite of the set. Again, there is lots of incredible footage of her, Prince Philip and their family. As world events have unfolded during her reign, the British Monarchy itself has grown less and less relevant. Queen Elizabeth has kept herself and the dynasty relevant by her devotion to service and her unwaivering ability to remain genuine and never contrived.
If you are just interested in the British Monarchy and want some background, get this set. If you love them already, get this set - the film on each dvd is well worth having. Each dvd is a stand-alone piece, but still with a slant towards QEII and her staggering reign on the throne. God save the Queen!