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Arts & Culture

Queen & Country

Sir Trevor McDonald at Buckingham Palace, London.
Courtesy of PBS
Sir Trevor McDonald at Buckingham Palace, London.

Airs Sundays, July 1 - 22, 2012 at 8 p.m. on KPBS TV

In 2012, all eyes are on Queen Elizabeth II, Britain’s second longest-reigning monarch, as England marks her Diamond Jubilee. In the wake of the celebration of her 60 years as British monarch, Sir Trevor McDonald’s QUEEN & COUNTRY, a new four-part series premiering nationally on Sundays, July 1, 8, 15 and 22, 2012 at 8 p.m., offers viewers a look at the customs surrounding the monarchy – from the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace to the Queen’s royal visits – and a glimpse of the greatest historic royal places.

"London: Royal City" airs Sunday, July 1, 2012 - London is, indisputably, the capital of Britain’s royal life. Here, the young Princess Elizabeth grew up before World War II. Here, she and her sister, Margaret, mingled, incognito, with the joyous crowds on VE Day.

It is still the center of a working monarchy. Join Sir Trevor McDonald as he reports on the tradition of Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace and visits Horseguards to meet the man who is in charge of the troops who guard the queen.

"Royal Visit" airs Sunday, July 8, 2012 at 8 p.m. - The Queen’s year is driven by her diary — and has been since her accession in 1952. See her in Scotland at the Braemar Gathering (which she has attended 70 times) and follow her on a visit to Liverpool – the sort of regional trip that happens every week but attracts little publicity. View unique 3D footage of the young queen, shot in 1953 and held by the British Film Institute.

"The Queen’s Possessions" airs Sunday, July 15, 2012 at 8 p.m. - The Queen has some surprising possessions. Among them are Westminster Abbey and the Chapels Royal. These are “peculiars of the crown” — as are the Channel Islands, where they still call Her Majesty the Duke of Normandy to remind outsiders that they were with William the Conqueror on the winning side at the Battle of Hastings.

The queen also owns the Tower of London — part of a collection of Historic Royal Palaces. Not forgetting the Royal Collection — to which she has added nearly 150 portraits over the past six decades — follow the process used to create one of the most unusual.

"Traveller" airs Sunday, July 22, 2012 at 8 p.m. - The queen is head of the 16 realms that make up the Commonwealth. In Perth, Western Australia, Queen Elizabeth is on tour before opening the Heads of Government Meeting, which is especially important for the monarchy.

The Commonwealth countries are being asked to change the rules of succession so that a first-born girl may inherit the crown. If it’s approved, it will be the single biggest change to the monarchy for centuries. At the age of 85, the queen remains undaunted by long-haul travel — as this program shows.

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Join veteran newsman Sir Trevor McDonald as he looks at the traditions and institutions surrounding the monarchy, from Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace through the queen's royal visits to some of the greatest historic royal palaces.