Our obsession with the antics of royal bedrooms, births, and the succession of the British throne is nothing new. The royal bedchamber was once a very public sphere. In times gone by, courtiers and dignitaries would attend royal marriage ceremonies, and observe royal births in order to verify the baby’s gender. Even the process of creating royal babies often took place in a semi-public context to prove an heir’s legitimacy.

Historian Dr. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, gets into bed with past British monarchs to uncover TALES FROM THE ROYAL BEDCHAMBER. She examines the creation of private chambers in response to the overwhelmingly public nature of royal bedrooms, and explores the backstairs politics which developed as a result. She looks at the increasingly lavish design of Royal State beds and the huge expense which went into these beds in royal palaces and private great houses alike, many of which were never even slept in. In fact, the rise and fall of their magnificent beds reflects the changing fortunes of the monarchy itself.


“Tales from the Royal Bedchamber” is a documentary that makes the Royals look weirder. The history of proving heirs and other lineage based stuff has many strange footnotes. Dr. Worsley goes out of her way to find the strangest elements of the practices and what ended up leading to private Royal bedrooms. It’s weird to think there is a history to the beds where Royals were forced to breed and fornicate for their Court.

The British Throne is weird. That should come as a shock to no one. However, I wish that this documentary would’ve been bundled with similar themed releases based on the subject matter. But, that might be too much for some casual viewers. Do casual viewers even watch PBS?

The DVD comes with no special features. The A/V Quality is on par for most recent standard definition drama releases. The transfer isn’t amazing, but it works. The same goes for the Dolby 2.0 audio track. In the end, I’d recommend a purchase.

RELEASE DATE: 02/17/2015

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