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The House Of Windsor: Long To Reign Over Us

Airs Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Diana, Princess of Wales talking with a young girl while visiting Angola.

"The House Of Windsor" explores the turbulent reign of England's Windsor family, the most prestigious monarchy in the world. This in-depth series illuminates the storied history of the family which has held the English throne for nearly a century. They persevered through two World Wars, but in addition to their triumphs, they also endured the pain of both scandal and tragedy.

Episode Three: "Long To Reign Over Us"

This episode begins with Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne in 1952. Her glamorous sister, Margaret, finally decided to settle down and pinned her heart on the divorcee Peter Townsend. The public loved this fairytale story of a beautiful princess being in love with the dashing war hero. The Queen and the constitution did not. Margaret was given an ultimatum; Townsend or her titles and privileges — she chose the latter.

In 1981 The Queen’s son and heir, Prince Charles, after a succession of missed chances, finally married the right girl (or so we thought at the time), a certain Lady Diana Spencer. As the '80s progressed the Windsor Dynasty reached crisis point. Princess Anne was the first to break her marriage vows when she divorced fellow equestrian, Mark Phillips. Other royals followed.

Prince Charles' cover was blown when it was confirmed that he had a mistress for most of his marriage to Diana. The crowning humiliation came in the early '90s when Diana master-minded a frank biography of her miserable years as Charles' wife. Windsor Castle went up in flames. 1992 would be The Queen's "Annus Horribilis."

The worst was still to come. Diana's death would leave two young princes, William and Harry, without a mother and a family and country in a state of shock. But, the new century would see the incredible recovery of public goodwill, from The Queen's Golden Jubilee to her 80th birthday, to the happy marriage of Charles and Camilla and to the emergence of the new generation Princes William and Harry.

Video

Preview: The House Of Windsor

Above: "The House Of Windsor" explores the turbulent reign of England's Windsor family, the most prestigious monarchy in the world. This in-depth series illuminates the storied history of the family which has held the English throne for nearly a century.

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