King George III, a vibrant, robust, if eccentric leader, almost 30 years into his reign. Queen Charlotte, his wife, a devoted and dutiful partner. And their children — all fifteen of them, including the Prince of Wales and his younger brother, the Duke of York. To the nation, the King and Queen represent the basic fundamentals of stability and an ordered family life.
Yet beneath this veneer of respectability something has gone awry. The King has begun acting in a bizarre fashion, spewing obscenities, attacking the Queen's fetching young Lady in Waiting and interrupting a royal concert with a vigorous demonstration of his own mastery of the keyboard.
Is it possible? Has the unthinkable happened?
Has the King of England gone ... mad?

Director's Statement

George III was King of England from 1760 to 1820. During this often tumultuous 60-year reign, England suffered the humiliating loss of the American colonies while great constitutional battles led to the ascendancy of parliamentary over monarchical power, a process speeded by the crisis of the illness of the King.
Was King George "mad?" Probably not, although he displayed all the symptoms of madness due to "porphyria," a metabolic imbalance that reproduces all the symptoms of mental illness. Combined with the physical debilitation caused by the barbaric treatments of the royal doctors, King George was forever remembered as the "Mad Monarch."
King George III was first ill in 1788. His malady was to recur for short periods throughout the remainder of his life until his death in 1820. lt wasn't until much later, with the emergence of Dr. Willis's journals and the diaries of Sir George Baker, the first physician to attend the King, that historians were able to piece together the full extent of the King's baffling illness.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Nicholas Hytner

Written by: Alan Bennett

Produced by: Stephens Evans, David Parfitt

Cast: Nigel Hawthorne (King George), Helen Mirren (Queen Charlotte), Rupert Graves (Greville), Amanda Donohoe (Lady Pembroke), Charlotte Curley (Amelia)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 1995