DVD review: The Diamond Queen and The Queen's Palaces

The Queen's Jubilee honoring Queen Elizabeth II's incredible 60 years serving as Head of State of the United Kingdom and Head of the Commonwealth and the first time in modern history a queen has reached such a milestone is in full celebratory swing. Royalty watchers and history buffs—as well as fans of awe-inspiring places and spaces—can learn much about the history of the Queen and the historic palaces she calls home thanks to two new releases from BBC Worldwide Americas: The Diamond Queen and The Queen's Palaces.

The Diamond Queen offers a fascinating look at the history behind Queen Elizabeth II being thrust into power at the age of 25, what she's accomplished since, and a year-long glimpse into what that royal life entails. Sharing everything from her father's story (which many might know from the recent film, The King's Speech), to her move into the palace then the position, her duties of meeting with Prime Ministers (starting with Churchill) and all it takes to fulfill her personal motto of "I have to be seen to be believed," the three hour-long episodes hosted by Andrew Marr enlighten and entertain. Interviews with members of the Royal Family and world leaders who have come to know her best add to the in-depth look at the woman and her impressive accomplishments. The episodes include archival footage dating far back in the family history as well as events as current as the Queen's visit to Ground Zero and the recent royal wedding of Prince William and Kate. A commemorative montage special feature provides additional material marking the Queen's rise and record-breaking reign.

The Queen's Palaces provides an extensive look at the Queen's three royal homes: Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and The Palace of Holyroodhouse. In three hour-long episodes, Fiona Price shares the amazing artwork and architectural details as well as the history behind the impressive structures. Many of the prized possessions housed within each are highlighted along with the history behind the pieces that made them significant to the Queen and to the country. The bonus feature on the DVD is a seemingly heartfelt introduction by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales on these incredible places that were and continue to be significant to the Monarchy and Britain.

What I loved about the DVDs: I am neither a history buff nor a royalty watcher, but I thoroughly enjoyed both DVDs. The Diamond Queen brought Queen Elizabeth II, an historic figure I've never known much about, to life for me and showed me a personal and touching side to her I never considered. The Queen's Palaces is just incredibly lush and extravagant to look at and to imagine that real people actually lived and continue to live among such treasures. Both DVDs, I must admit, were eye-openers for me—in a good way.

The Diamond Queen and The Queen's Palaces from BBC Worldwide Americas retail for $19.98 each.

Disclosure: I was provided free DVDs for review, with no obligation attached. Opinions are my own.