NEW YORK–“The Women of Windsor” is a good-looking but unabsorbing rehash of the marriages of the Princess of Wales and the Duchess of York. There’s nothing in the telepic that hasn’t been screamed out in the tabloids or revealed in the recent spate of tell-all books on the hapless duo.
Biggest problem with the telepic is that it’s a montage of scenes and episodes, rather than a skillfully revealed story. Two of the main exposition devices–voice-over from a reporter and newspaper front pages–are a poor substitute for fully developed characters and interaction between them.
Sarah Ferguson, the commoner who married Prince Andrew and became the Duchess of York, is treated most fully in the story and is the closest thing to a three-dimensional character. But Sallyanne Law plays her more as an impetuous child than a willful adult. Still, character is treated rather sympathetically by the script.
Other main characters–Diana Spencer, later the Princess of Wales (Nicola Formby), Prince Charles (James Piddock) and Prince Andrew (Robert Meadmore)–are treated less fully. It’s never clear, for example, how Randy Andy turned into a couch potato, or how or when Prince Charles’ early infatuation with Diana turned into contempt and boredom.
Least credible moment is at the end, when a Fleet Street reporter and his editor are ruminating over the end of the Yorks’ marriage, and the reporter blames the press.
While the explanation may have some validity (Fergie complains about the press throughout the pic), Fleet Street’s ceaseless appetite for the misadventures of the royals makes such reflection and remorse seem ludicrous.