Film / Bertie and Elizabeth

Bertie and Elizabeth is a made-for-TV romance movie about King George VI ("Bertie") and his wife, Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon.

This telefilm provides examples of:

  • Adapted Out: The film does everything it can to give audiences the impression that David and Bertie are the only two children of George V and Queen Mary. In actuality, they had six children - five sons and a daughter - of whom David and Bertie were the two eldest. Their younger brothers, Prince Henry and Prince George, both took a very active role in helping Bertie reign (and George died in a plane crash during WWII, the highest-ranking British casualty of the war). Their sister, Princess Mary, was always closest to David and disliked the family's treatment of him after his abdication. (Their youngest brother, Prince John, died of an epileptic seizure in 1919, before the film begins.)
    • In a variation on this trope which could also be a character error, Queen Mary remarks that the last commoner to marry into the Royal Family was Anne Boleyn - in fact, it was Anne Hyde, the first wife of James II. Unlike Anne Boleyn (who, like Elizabeth, was the daughter of an Earl, and was also a Marquess in her own right), Anne Hyde was not a Blue Blood - her father was a lawyer and MP who had been knighted for his services to the crown. (After the marriage, he was created a Baron and then an Earl.) It's easy to see why Anne Boleyn was mentioned instead - she's more recognizable and her ultimate fate makes for a funnier punchline.
  • Balcony Speech: George VI gives several of these, even though he has a stammer.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Elizabeth looks quite well in her sky-blue sweater.
  • Berserk Button: Don't insult Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon in front of Bertie. Just... don't.
  • Blue Blood: Although Queen Mary calls Elizabeth a "commoner" - and is technically correct, since Elizabeth does not hold a title in her own right - she is the daughter of the Earl of Strathmore, and therefore from one of the UK's most illustrious noble lines.
  • The Heart: George and Elizabeth. Their job was to be the Heart of The British Empire and give encouragement to their loyal subjects while they are giving what-for to Those Wacky Nazis.
  • Honor Before Reason: In their quiet way, both George and Elizabeth live this trope. But perhaps the best example was their refusal to go into safety or even send their children into safety. As Elizabeth put it, "The children will not go without me; I will not go without the King; and the King will never leave his country."
  • Lady of War: Invoked. Elizabeth is shown doing a Take That against Britain's enemies by having four targets painted with a Dartboard of Hate (two with swastikas, two with a cartoon Hitler), for her to take pistol practice on them.
  • Mama Bear: Subverted. Elizabeth decides without batting an eyelash that her children have to stay during the Blitz. But then her job was to be Britain's Mama Bear.
  • Modest Royalty: They are shown eating fish-cakes because of rations.
  • Remittance Man: Edward and his wife are sent to Coventry by the entire upper class.
  • Security Cling: When Buckingham Palace is bombed, Bertie and Elizabeth run to a point of safety and cling to each other - or rather, Elizabeth clings to her husband. It's one of the few times we see their roles reverse; while Elizabeth is usually the one Bertie leans on, in this case it is Elizabeth who is leaning on Bertie, and he is the one taking care of her. Given that Bertie had seen front-line naval combat during World War I, while Elizabeth never had, it makes perfect sense that he would be the one calm and in control.
  • A Shared Suffering: George and Elizabeth are shown sharing The Chains of Commanding. It has been said, with good reason, that no British monarch has ever owed more to his wife. It was Elizabeth's popularity that swung the decision to have Bertie succeed his brother (as opposed to Bertie's younger brother Prince George), and she was the one who gave him the strength to lead Britain through WWII.