A Princely Look at Great Britain's Past PBS' `Crown and Country' Looks at Historic English Sites

By McAlister, Nancy | The Florida Times Union, September 27, 1998 | Go to article overview
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A Princely Look at Great Britain's Past PBS' `Crown and Country' Looks at Historic English Sites


McAlister, Nancy, The Florida Times Union


He's the third son and youngest child of Queen Elizabeth II and

the Duke of Edinburgh. But Edward Windsor also wants to be known

as a history buff and TV producer with the debut of Crown and

Country, a sweeping insider's look at towns, castles and

cathedrals of Great Britain's past.

As host and narrator of the series, which makes its debut with

a two-hour special at 9 tonight on PBS, Windsor takes viewers to

some of England's most famous historical sites. Among them are

Windsor Castle, the family's principal residence; Portsmouth,

home of the Royal Navy; and Winchester, the Saxon capitol

thought to be the original home of the legendary King Arthur.

Following tonight's premiere, Crown and Country will be

broadcast in a six-part format over the next three months. In

addition to serving as the on-air talent for the project,

Windsor was also a writer and executive producer.

Since forming Ardent Productions in 1993, he has produced a

number of programs for networks in the United Kingdom, including

the BBC, and such U.S. outlets as The Learning Channel.

Appearing this summer at the PBS portion of the summer press

tour for TV critics, the young man who is seventh in line of

succession to the throne was modest about his family

connections. He was much more willing to talk about his

ancestors than give any mention of current relatives.

"Most of it is firmly in the past," he said. "Although we do

bring things up to date to show how those links have continued

right through to the present day."

Some of the stories are obvious choices, said the prince,

singling out Windsor and Sandringham. Going to the less obvious

ones like Portsmouth and Cambridge University was the fun part.

"Trying to select the first six was the most difficult task of

the lot," he said. "But it's the case of trying to find a series

of places that have good stories attached to them."

Windsor, which is profiled on Oct. 7, is the world's largest

occupied castle with a site chosen by William I in 1070. The

host shares local legends, including that of Herne the Hunter

and the founding of the oldest order of chivalry -- The Order of

the Garter.

Other parts of the series include:

Portsmouth: Home of the Fleet and Seat of Military Power (Oct.

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