Queen Elizabeth II, the longest-serving British monarch in history, has died at the age of 96. A constant in an ever-changing world, her tenure as sovereign spanned post-WWII austerity, the decolonization of the British Empire, the end of the Cold War, the September 11 attacks, the U.K.’s entry into – and exit from – the European Union, and the COVID-19 pandemic. Her reign spanned 15 prime ministers, beginning with Winston Churchill – born in 1874, in the Victorian Era – to Liz Truss, appointed just days before the queen’s death.

To commemorate the death of Queen Elizabeth II, explore the British monarch’s life and legacy with these five programs available to stream.

Queen Elizabeth: A Royal Life – a PBS NewsHour Special

Explore Queen Elizabeth II’s life, legacy, and her influence within the royal family, across the U.K., and around the world in this special report from PBS NewsHour. At 25 years old, Queen Elizabeth assumed the throne in 1952 following the death of her father, King George VI, and reigned until her death at age 96 on September 8, 2022. The year 2022 marked the queen’s platinum jubilee, celebrating 70 years on the throne. During that time, the queen has seen the world go through times of war and great turmoil and change, with her reign spanning 15 U.K. prime ministers, more than a dozen U.S. presidents, and nine popes.

How to Watch: Stream now on the free PBS App.

In Their Own Words: Queen Elizabeth II

Journey into the 7-decade reign of the iconic ruler. Follow Queen Elizabeth II’s remarkable life, from her youth – when few expected she’d ever wear the crown – to her uncle Edward VIII’s stunning abdication and her father’s subsequent coronation as King George VI. Witness her experiences during World War II, her own sudden ascension to the throne, and her eventful reign of more than 60 years in this episode of In Their Own Words.

How to Watch: Stream now on the free PBS App.

The Queen at War

Princess Elizabeth was only 13 years old on September 3, 1939, when her father King George VI informed the people of Great Britain that the country was at war. Her experiences mirror those of the everyday citizen: she too was evacuated, her home of Buckingham Palace was bombed, and she volunteered in service to the war effort. In this revelatory documentary featuring extraordinary archival footage and interviews with those with her at the time, examine how the longest reigning monarch in British history was shaped by her experiences during WWII.

How to Watch: Stream now on the PBS App with PBS KVIE Passport.

The Queen and the Coup

Unravel the secrets of this unknown chapter in history when young Queen Elizabeth II was unknowingly deployed in a U.S. plot to overthrow Iran’s last democracy. February 1953 marked the first anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign – yet little did she know she was about to be utilized in a secret plot to topple Iran’s democratic leader in favor of an all-powerful Shah. Planned by MI6 and executed by the C.I.A., the coup that followed destroyed relations between Iran and the West.

How to Watch: Stream now on the PBS App with PBS KVIE Passport.

Lucy Worsley’s Royal Photo Album

Explore how the royal family has shaped their image with photography, from Queen Victoria to Queen Elizabeth’s iconic coronation portrait. Photographer Cecil Beaton knew exactly how he wanted Elizabeth’s 1953 coronation portrait to look: glamourous, campy, romantic. Take a look at what went into making the famous photo, as well as other iconic images of the royals – from official portraits to tabloid snapshots.

How to Watch: Stream now on the PBS App with PBS KVIE Passport.


Celebrate the Life and Legacy of Queen Elizabeth II with PBS KVIE Programming