‘Portrait of The Queen’: A Documentary for Devotees

By: Matthew Gibb

Queen Elizabeth II became an icon throughout the world.

Meeting people from Mandela to Xi Jinping to Barack Obama, Queen Elizabeth was known for her grace and composure in every situation. Her Majesty also was the most photographed woman on the face of the planet. Portrait of a Queen seeks to examine the life of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, through photographs taken of her and interviews with some of her photographers.

Lovers of documentaries or photography will enjoy the film’s take on various photographs of Her Majesty. Indeed, some of the explanations behind some of the most famous photographs of Queen Elizabeth are quite fascinating. The photographs provide fascinating insights into the Queen’s life and chronicle her relationships with various family members, including her beloved corgis and her husband, Prince Phillip, Duke of Edinburgh.

Photography lovers will find the photographic analysis quite interesting and an explanation of some of the behind-the-scenes shots. The most photographed woman in the world has some storied photographers discussing their photographs of her with a love and a passion that experts have for their subject matter. Photographers will appreciate the hard work and dedication that went into producing those shots.

A Doco for a Niche Audience

Unlike a nature documentary that appeals to a much wider audience, this documentary has a niche following for ardent royal lovers and photographers. The documentary lets itself down by adopting a languid pace that prevents the storyline from moving too quickly. Despite the content being of interest, the frequent extreme close-ups of the narrator and the sedentary nature of the film means that viewers’ minds will drift, snapping back to focus on the next moment of interest. The film also struggles to chronicle the Queen’s life effectively. There is a chronological attempt at portrayal, but there are no photos or interviews of her response to one of the many scandals to have engulfed the Royal Family. It would have been interesting to have seen the Queen’s viewpoint after Princess Diana’s death or one of Prince Philip’s many gaffes.

A documentary of this nature is sure to both divide and enrapture. The film continues to heighten the mystique around the Royal Family. Still, it also provides clear insights into the Queen’s character away from the scripted, public events at which the world got used to seeing her. The Queen’s legacy of service is honoured, and for that, the film deserves a good rap.

Reel Dialogue: Faithful Service

Faithful service is something for which every person should strive. Society recognises faithful service by awarding special honours to those whose faithful service has made a big difference to their communities. Queen Elizabeth frequently described herself as “doing her duty” for her nation and to her people. She understood that faithful service often meant sacrificing her own needs and wants for the good of her nation.

The Bible rewards those who served faithfully and does not shy away from excoriating those who are unfaithful. The thing to consider is Jesus’ example of self-sacrificial service, to the point of death, because he knew that “his duty” was to redeem humanity.

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!” Matthew 25:21

Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.

All images: Movie stills