David Starkey’s Monarchy: The Windsors
Channel 4, Wed 26 Dec, 8.30pm
With a ‘measured voice of the historian’ and the occasional surreal hand gesture, Dr David Starkey gives us a potted dissection of 130 years of the British regal profession. Scantily digging over the landmarks, quarrels and scandals of UK monarchy from Queen Victoria to Lady Di and going on to speculate upon the future of the realm under a Charles III reign, you just know that the good doctor would have loved at least three times the 75 minutes he is dealt with here. And yet, his potent writing and presenting powers are wielded with a vivid precision, each fact laid out with an authoritative verve, every opinion graced with light humour and laced with poetic imagery.
We get more than a sense that Starkey is no fan of the grieving industry which was activated upon Diana’s death and is clearly sympathetic to the tricky position the Queen found herself in during the tear-drenched days preceding her daughter-in-law’s funeral. Moreover, Starkey is confident that the Windsor dynasty will be safe in Charles’ hands having concluded that he is a great dad and has shown potential to be a radical king. With clips showing Charles to be warmly receptive to cultures and faiths other than his own (his dad’s archive file was presumably empty of such footage), Starkey is optimistic about the family’s fate. Whether the nation will allow him to bathe in such a balmy future is less certain.