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Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work: Head Of State

Airs Tuesday, June 26, 2012 at 9 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh (right, in black uniform) arrive by royal carriage at the House of Lords in London for the state opening of Parliament.

In the year of her 80th birthday, Queen Elizabeth II granted the filmmakers of MONARCHY: THE ROYAL FAMILY AT WORK an exclusive look inside the modern British monarchy. In this intimate series, viewers join Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of Britain's most famous family as they travel abroad, work at the palace and meet people from all walks of life.

The ballroom in London's Buckingham Palace arranged for a state banquet.
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Above: The ballroom in London's Buckingham Palace arranged for a state banquet.

Quiz: Constitutional Monarchy

Test your knowledge of Great Britain's political system.

The programs follow the queen as she visits the first permanent British settlement in the U.S. and spends time with President Bush at the White House. The cameras roll as she visits the newly democratic Republic of Estonia - where no British monarch has set foot before.

Back in England, the series goes inside Buckingham Palace for exclusive interviews with members of the royal family, preparations for elaborate formal occasions and a behind-the-scenes look at the royal kitchens, royal wine cellar and royal car fleet, and the jobs of footmen, ladies in waiting, the yeomen guard and the crown jeweler.

MONARCHY: THE ROYAL FAMILY AT WORK offers a glimpse behind the velvet curtain to reveal what life is really like as a member of the family firm.

"Head Of State" airs Tuesday, June 26 at 9 p.m. - For the dramatic ritual that opens Parliament, the queen’s coachmen don full livery, and two of her horse-drawn carriages parade through the streets. One holds the queen — the other carries the crown jewels.

Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive at the House of Lords for the state opening of Parliament.
Enlarge this image

Above: Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, arrive at the House of Lords for the state opening of Parliament.

This episode leads viewers through the elaborate state opening of Parliament, from the secret removal of the Crown Jewels from their Tower of London vault to the moment when the House of Commons slams the door in the face of the queen’s representative to the eventual conclusion when the rowdy Commons stand before their queen. Not all of the queen’s state responsibilities require full regalia.

“Head Of State” also attends the weekly private audience between Her Majesty and the British prime minister. It’s his duty to keep the queen informed. It’s hers to listen and to impart the wisdom gleaned from nine of his predecessors.

The royal job also entails extensive travel. Although the queen has seen almost every country on earth, no monarch has ever set foot in the former Soviet republics of the Baltic states. In the historic visit to the newly democratic Republic of Estonia, the ambassador, his wife and their staff have attended to every detail.

Up Next:

"The Queen And Us" airs Monday, July 2, 2012 at 10 p.m.

"Inside The Firm" airs Monday, July 9, 2012 at 10 p.m.

The first two episodes titled, "The State Visit," aired on Tuesday, June 19th. And "Headquarters" airs directly before this episode "Head Of State," on Tuesday, June 26 at 8 p.m.

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Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work: The Crown Jewels

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Video Excerpt: Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work

Above: This episode leads viewers through the elaborate state opening of Parliament, from the secret removal of the Crown Jewels from their Tower of London vault to the moment when the House of Commons slams the door in the face of the queen’s representative to the eventual conclusion when the rowdy Commons stand before their queen. Not all of the queen’s state responsibilities require full regalia. “Head Of State” also attends the weekly private audience between Her Majesty and the British prime minister.

Video

Series Preview: Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work

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Above: In Monarchy: The Royal Family At Work, join Queen Elizabeth II and the rest of Britain's most famous family as they travel abroad, work at the palace and meet people from all walks of life.

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