ABC and People have teamed up for a second Windsor family-focused documentary miniseries to follow up last summer's The Story of Diana, which honored the late Princess on the 20th anniversary of her death. This year's two-night event features interviews with various royal experts, but viewers may be wondering: were the royal family interviewed for The Story of the Royals? There are a ton of specials produced about them every year, and, given their royal duties and responsibility to maintain an air of mystery surrounding the monarchy, it's no surprise that the royal family virtually never participates in them.
However, since the special will zero in on last spring's royal wedding and the birth of Prince Louis, it does draw on previously recorded interviews with the family and use clips of them in its storytelling. In the trailer, for example, they use a clip of Meghan Markle and Prince Harry's engagement interview. So viewers will get a glimpse of the royal perspective for context, but there won't actually be any new content featuring them. The miniseries, instead, relies on palace insiders who worked closely with the Windsor family, royal historians, and journalists who have covered the royal family in meticulous detail. It presents the information by following four generations representing the crown: Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince George.
The Story of The Royals captures the mystique and history of the monarchy as it hits dizzying heights this spring with a new royal baby and the introduction of Meghan Markle, the first American to marry into the British royal family since Wallis Simpson in 1937. Through its many loves, losses, extravagances, challenges and charms, the British royal family has grown into a 21st-century monarchy, and The Story of the Royals will illustrate that evolution as well as examine the American obsession behind all things royal.
In an interview with Newsweek last year, just ahead of his proposal to Markle, Prince Harry made waves when he remarked that no one in the royal family actually wants to become king or queen; it's a duty they serve.
"We are involved in modernizing the British monarchy. We are not doing this for ourselves but for the greater good of the people," he said. "Is there any one of the royal family who wants to be king or queen? I don’t think so, but we will carry out our duties at the right time."
In his view, representing the crown is a "balancing act" between making themselves accessible to accurately reflect 21st century cultural attitudes while also elevating themselves to the positions they hold. "We don’t want to dilute the magic," he said. "The British public and the whole world need institutions like it."
The Story of the Royals aims to unpack exactly why the world needs it and takes a close look at the the uniquely American fascination with the royal family, given its recently acquired American princess. The two-night event unfolds August 22 and 23 on ABC.