In celebration of The Queen’s 90th birthday, Penelope Keith ventures behind the scenes of Her Majesty’s royal residences as she travels across the United Kingdom to meet the people upholding royal titles and ancient appointments, from the Royal Falconer to the Washer of the Sovereign’s hands.
Episode 1: England
Monday, June 4 at 8pm ET/5pm PT
Penelope starts her journey in England at the Queen’s much-loved residence, Windsor Castle. She discovers one of Windsor’s best kept secrets, the clandestine walkway that Queen Victoria took to get to St George’s Chapel and Penelope steps into the atmospheric spiritual home of the oldest and highest order of chivalry in the country.
Personally chosen by Her Majesty, the Knights of the Garter is a hand-picked selection of the great and the good, past and present, from John Major to Winston Churchill. Penelope visits the College of Arms, in the City of London and discovers that the art of heraldic design is full of wonderful in-jokes and symbolism. Look hard enough and the clues to a Knight’s hobbies, profession and favourite things are hidden in plain sight.
Episode 2: Scotland
Monday, June 11 at 8pm ET/5pm PT
Penelope visit the Queen’s official Scottish residence, The Palace of Holyroodhouse where she delves into the drama that surrounds the Palace’s most famous resident, Mary Queen of Scots.
Penelope steps aboard the Royal yacht Britannia, described by the Queen as ‘the one place I can truly relax’. Taking tea with the Queen’s former captain, Admiral Sir John Garnier, Penelope finds out how the Queen and the Royal family passed their time on board, with barbeques on deck and command performances with the crew. Penelope goes ‘below deck’ to meet a former engineer and ‘yottie’ in the sparkling engine room and peeks inside the Queen’s private quarters, from the Queen’s study to Prince Charles and Princess Diana’s honeymoon suite.
Episode 3: Northern Ireland
Monday, June 18 at 8pm ET/5pm PT
In Northern Ireland, Penelope visits the Queen’s official Royal residence, Hillsborough Castle. A royal residence, little known to the wider public but much loved by the Queen.
At Hillsborough, Penelope discovers that the household staff give the Royal Residence the same scrupulous attention to detail as any of The Queen’s other palaces. She meets the longest serving members of the household responsible for raising the flag, buffing the brass and turning down the beds for Her Majesty’s visits.
Episode 4: Wales
Monday, June 25 at 8pm ET/5pm PT
Penelope starts her journey at Caernarfon Castle, where Prince Charles was invested as Prince of Wales back in 1969. It was a spectacle of royal pomp and pageantry choreographed by the queen’s brother-in-law, Lord Snowdon, and watched by a global television audience of 500 million people who enjoyed the first royal event to be broadcast in glorious colour. Penelope is serenaded by the male voice choirs of Anglesey and Bangor, as they fill the 800 year old Caernarfon Castle with a rousing rendition of ‘God Bless the Prince of Wales’ and she discovers how a humble ping-pong ball took centre stage on this grand occasion.
Penelope meets champion Welsh dog breeders who have supplied the Queen with some of her most loyal subjects – her pet corgis. An owner of corgis herself, Penelope finds out how these outgoing and friendly dogs are a perfect fit for the Queen’s lifestyle.
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