(VIDEO) Decadence and Downfall: The Shah of Iran’s Ultimate Party.

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In 1971, the Shah of Iran, the self-proclaimed ‘king of kings’, celebrated 2,500 years of the Persian monarchy by throwing the greatest party in history. Money was no object – a lavish tent city, using 37km of silk, was erected in a specially created oasis. The world’s top restaurant at the time, Maxim’s, closed its doors for two weeks to cater the event, a five-course banquet served to over sixty of the world’s kings, queens and presidents, and washed down with some of the rarest wines known to man.

Over a decadent five-day period, guests were treated to a pageant of thousands of soldiers dressed in ancient Persian costume, a ‘son et lumiere’ at the foot of Darius the Great’s temple, and the opening of the Azadi Tower in Tehran, designed to honor the Shah himself.

Every party leaves a few hangovers. This one left a country reeling, never to recover. It crystallized the opposition, led by the Ayatollah Khomeini. More than any other event, this party marked the break between the king of kings and the people of Iran he reigned over.

 Click here to watch the documentary on Vimeo.

(VIDEO) Royal Wives at War. A New Program from PBS.

On Sunday, September 18, 2016, PBS in co-production with the BBC presents Royal Wives at War a one-hour dramatization that reveals new look at England’s abdication crisis of 1936 as seen through the eyes of the two women at its heart.

In a series of dramatized monologues set in 1967, Elizabeth the Queen Mother, played by Ms. Emma Davies, and Wallis Simpson, played by Ms. Gina McKee, look back at events that led King Edward VIII, played by Mr. Nick Waring, to give up the throne for the woman he loved. Combining dramatic reconstructions, archives and a chorus of acquaintances and biographers, Royal Wives at War tells the intimate and moving story of two strong women and the friction that characterized their relationship.

The program not only explores the scandalous love story, but also the emotional impact of the post-abdication fallout: how Wallis regretted a marriage she now couldn’t avoid and how Elizabeth, miserable at becoming Queen Consort, schemed to ostracize and exile both Edward and Wallis. Upon the outbreak of war, the British government was forced to step in, banishing the Windsors to the then-sleepy backwater of the Bahamas. Elizabeth became the power behind the throne during the war years while Wallis lashed out bitterly from afar.

rwatw“Royal Wives at War takes a fresh new look at one of Britain’s most dramatic royal moments of the 20th century…” notes Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Executive and General Manager of General Audience Programming for PBS. “The brilliant English actresses Emma Davies and Gina McKee give us compelling new portrayals of the friction between the two wives, while also showing us the personal, emotional stakes of the abdication crisis and its aftermath.”  In addition to Davies, McKee and Waring, Royal Wives at War features Ms. Emma Campbell-Jones as Thelma Furness and Mr. Richard Harrington as the narrator. Biographers Mr. Andrew Morton, Lady Colin Campbell and Ms. Anne Sebba also are featured in the program.

Royal Wives at War will première on Sunday, September 18, 2016 at 9 P.M.  Check your local PBS listing for more information.

With many thanks to Goodman Media for the press photo and release for the information.

(VIDEO) Land of Hope and Glory: British Country Life

Here is the 2016 BBC documentary entitled, Land of Hope and Glory: British Country Life.

For almost 120 years, Country Life magazine has been aspiring to capture the elusive soul of the British countryside, from muddy fields to stately homes. Jane Treays spent a year filming with the magazine, exploring the lives of those who have been bred into the land, inherited it or have simply bought into its dreams.

From a “girl in pearls” shoot in Yorkshire to a historic mansion in Dorset, via Lindisfarne Castle and a family farm in Somerset, this series captures the glory and eccentricity of the men and women who live the rural life.

So, what does this program have to do with royalty?  Well, nothing, really.  I enjoyed the documentary so I thought I would share it with all of you.

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