9 Shows About European Royalty That Will Make You Want to Travel (Even If You’re Not a History Buff)

Nicholas Rosen

People have always been particularly obsessed with those with royal titles and backgrounds.  It could be because of the intrigue involved between family members behind closed doors, the decisions they made across history and how they shaped what we currently know today, or the lifestyle we sometimes envy and try to emulate or imagine ourselves in.

Either way, it is certainly and continues to be a hot topic for us all. And today’s streaming services have always made sure to keep the masses entertained. That is why their list is so extensive on European royalty, from drama to comedy. Here is a list of shows to watch if you want to learn more about some of these historical individuals while being thoroughly entertained.

The Crown

Olivia Coleman as Queen Elizabeth in The Crown
Image Credit: Sophie Mutevelian / Netflix.

At a current 5 seasons with a final 6th covering over 60 years of the reign of British Queen Elizabeth II and the House of Windsor, it is no surprise that this has become one of the top shows of all time. Not only will you be watching phenomenal acting but giving accurate detail to historic key members of the British Royal Family, political figures, and national events in history. It shows character development and how even royals can have a hard time. We will all be sad to see this series take a final bow but the royal family continues to push forward. What is especially great about this is that it was filmed all over the United Kingdom, so you get to see some of the hidden gems of London you can visit along with castle grounds, palace interiors, and various panoramic landscapes.

Mary, Queen of Scots

Margot Robbie in Mary Queen of Scots (2018).
Image Credit: Focus Features.

It’s not easy being Queen of Scotland, especially when you are constantly fighting to maintain ownership of your own country. Against your cousin….the legendary Queen Elizabeth of England. Less popular and lesser known in the history books, this film focuses on her pressing the royal claim from the capital city of Edinburgh on both the Scottish and English thrones. With a well-stocked cast of A-list actors, period costumes, and vivid direction, you can see why Scotland is such a popular travel destination. Especially the capital city of Edinburgh

The Last Czars

Robert Jack and Susanna Herbert in The Last Czars (2019).
Image Credit: Netflix.

This short series takes us into Eastern European society as we learn about the last royal family of Russia before their execution which led to the establishment of the Russian Soviet Republic and consequently the Soviet Union. It is a little darker in comparison to others but that is because the last years of the Russian royal family were met with new modern world ideas of politics, World War 1, and a sickly family member. It is interesting to watch how unlike most current royalty others could not change into the times while still maintaining some sense of relevance.

Versailles

Versailles
Image Credit: Studio Canal.

Making our way to France, we get to experience political intrigue as King Louis the Great builds the Palace of Versailles, one of the most elaborately constructed palaces of all time. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is still one of the most popular tourist attractions in the country.  The French dynamic is evident in this show with the lifestyle the royalty and nobles had in comparison to the lower class even though the entire government had essentially been relocated to this palace. It’s a wonder they were able to get anything done when you see the decadence of the French in the Renaissance age.

Vikings/Vikings: Valhalla

Vikings: Valhalla. Sam Corlett as Leif Eriksson in episode 201 of Vikings: Valhalla.
Image Credit: BERNARD WALSH/NETFLIX.

In this television series and its sequel not only are there great battle scenes but we also learn about the introduction of Scandinavian Vikings into the rest of the European world. It includes fictional versions of legendary historical monarchs who helped shape the countries of Denmark, Sweden, and especially Norway during the medieval period along with the embracing of the Christian religion from Paganism. Once you see some of the panoramic views here of the fjords and open land you will want to start exploring all the little places in Norway on your next vacation.

Medici the Magnificent

The Serpent Queen_Episode 106_The Last Joust_Left to Right_ Samantha Morton (_Catherine De Medici_)
Image Credit: Starz.

Though not technically one of the continent’s monarchies, this European family was shrewd and calculating enough to become one of the most influential families in Italy during the Italian Renaissance. They worked their political capital to treatise with other powerful Italian states and maintained a stable environment which can all be seen during its 3 seasons. You can see the preserved architecture filmed to represent Florence and Rome but it is located in smaller towns scattered around Tuscany that still maintain it. These are perfect for a weekend getaway to enjoy the vibrant Italian culture.

Reign

Reign
Image Credit: The CW.

The CW takes on their interpretation of history where every royal member and attendant is extremely attractive and melodramatic. Which helps to make up for some of the historical inaccuracies in the show. It is still worth watching with 4 seasons that showcase enduring French politics and romance between those from different countries and ways of life in the 16th century. It’s hard not getting emotionally invested in this melodrama even if it is a good way to pass some downtime.

The Empress

The Empress
Image Credit: Netflix.

Similar in regards to the Crown, this show focuses on a different branch of European royalty with the Habsburg monarchy, which was in control of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. You still get the same dramatic flair and political drama of families running numerous countries but with a difference in focus on the Eastern European region. It’s a German-originated series so you may need to watch in subtitles but it is a worthwhile substitute.

The Great

The Great
Image Credit: Gareth Gatrell/Hulu.

Focusing more on black comedy and satire of the woman known as Catherine the Great, the longest-reigning female monarch in Russia’s history. This show is one of the more recently popular takes on European Royalty. This may be because it tries not to take itself too seriously and is mostly pure fiction. It shows though how some royalty can be so out of touch with the world around them and being pampered their entire lives that you can easily see that royalty is not as glamorous as it sounds.

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Kim Dickens as Madison Clark - Fear the Walking Dead _ Season 8, Episode 6.
Photo Credit: Lauren “Lo” Smith/AMC.

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Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson in Mad Men.
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Bryce Dallas Howard in Black Mirror
Image Credit: David Dettmann/Netflix.

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Drew Barrymore in Santa Clarita Diet.
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Outer Banks. Rudy Pankow as JJ in episode 303 of Outer Banks
Image Credit: JACKSON LEE DAVIS/NETFLIX.

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