Royal Cousins at War – DVD – review

Calling ALL World War I geeks!

As someone who is totally fascinated with both European history and royalty, I am completely fascinated by this BBC documentary that looks at the intersection of family dynamics among royals before and during World War I. (I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I’ve watched it.)

Don’t expect any gruesome battle scenes. Instead, this is an intimate, behind-the-scenes look at the impact family relationships (squabbles, rivalries and personality conflicts) had on world politics, simply because this family was royal.

In this two-part, two-hour documentary, rich with historical footage and private family photos I’d never seen, I got a much clearer understanding of how personal relations among Britain’s Queen Victoria‘s grandchildren figured into the lead-up to World War I. Czar Nicolas II of Russia, Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany (Completely CRAZY!), and King George V of England were first cousins with complex relationships that shifted over the decades. Their individual beliefs about and commitment to the power of monarchy played a significant role in the events that led to The Great War (aka World War I). And by watching this documentary, you will get a better understanding of why George V was the only one to keep his throne when World War I ended.

Queen Victoria (1819-1901)
Image from Wikipedia

Here’s a mini-guide to the relationships.
• England’s Queen Victoria > mother to Princess Victoria “Vicky” (who marries Frederick III, heir to German Empire) > becomes mother of Kaiser Wilhelm II
• England’s Queen Victoria > mother to King Edward VII > father to King George V
• England’s Queen Victoria > mother to Princess Alice, who marries Prince Louis IV of Hesse > mother to Princess Alexandra, who becomes wife to Tsar Nicholas II
• Danish King Christian IV > father to Princess Alexandra, who becomes wife to King Edward VII > mother of King George V
• Danish King Christian IV > father to Princess Dagmar, who becomes wife to Tsar Alexander III > mother of Tsar Nicholas II

To purchase new at Amazon, click Royal Cousins at War. But you can probably find cheaper copes. For example, I just found a used one at Thriftbooks.com for $5.97 including shipping. Lots of options on eBay too.