The Madness of King George, 1994
visit the film locations
Visit: the Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London SE10 9NN (tel: 020.8269.4747) (rail: Greenwich, from London Charing Cross)
Greater London: Syon Park (rail: Brentford or Syon Lane, from London Waterloo), on the north bank of the Thames between Brentford and Isleworth
Berkshire: Eton College, north of Windsor (rail: Windsor & Eton, from London Paddington)
Sussex: Arundel Castle, Arundel (tel: 01903.882173) (rail: Arundel, from London Victoria)
Wiltshire: Wilton House, in the town of Wilton, two and a half miles west of Salisbury on the A30, Wiltshire (rail: Salisbury, from London Waterloo). The house and grounds are open in summer (admission charge, tel: 01722. 746720)
Oxfordshire: Bodleian Library, Oxford. Entrances from Broad Street, Catte Street and Radcliffe Square into the Old Schools Quadrangle, Old Bodleian Library
Broughton Castle, the home of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, its two miles southwest of Banbury, on the B40355 Shipston-on-Stour road. Its open to the public Wednesdays and Sundays in summer (tel: 01295.262624) (rail: Banbury, from London Marylebone)
The imposing interior of Wilton House is the site of Bligh’s court martial in Roger Donaldson's version of the Mutiny on the Bounty story, The Bounty, with Anthony Hopkins as Captain Bligh and Mel Gibson as Fletcher Christian. It also provided the interior of Brailov, Madame von Meck’s Russian estate in The Music Lovers, Ken Russell's delirious biopic of Tchaikovsky. Wilton stood in for Windsor Castle again in Mrs Brown (aka Her Majesty Mrs Brown), with Judi Dench as Queen Victoria
The School Quad of Eton College famously stands in for Cambridge’s Trinity College for the ‘College Dash’ scene in Chariots of Fire. It was the school quad in Barry Levinson's Young Sherlock Holmes (aka Young Sherlock Holmes and the Pyramid of Fear), and also featured in historical drama Henry VIII and His Six Wives
The Madness of King George location: The cure at ‘Kew Gardens’: Thame Park, Thame, Oxfordshire
Stage director Nicholas Hytner’s film of Alan Bennett’s play, The Madness of George III, uses a slew of historic locations around southern England.
The opening concert is the sumptuous 17th century Double Cube Room of Wilton House, in the town of Wilton, two and a half miles west of Salisbury on the A30, Wiltshire. The house and grounds are open in summer.
A popular filming location, Wilton House can be seen (frequently as an interior for another location) in Stanley Kubrick’s hypnotically beautiful Barry Lyndon, as the venue for the court martial of Captain Bligh in Roger Donaldson's The Bounty, with Anthony Hopkins and Mel Gibson (the exterior is Greenwich Naval College), as ‘Windsor Castle ’ in Mrs Brown, with Judi Dench as Queen Victoria, as the sumptuous mansion of Madame Von Meck in Ken Russell’s The Music Lovers (the exterior here is West Wycombe House in Buckinghamshire) and in The Young Victoria among others.
The Madness Of King George location: ‘Windsor Castle’: Arundel Castle, West Sussex
The exterior is Arundel Castle, Arundel, in West Sussex (rail: Arundel, from London Victoria), the 12th century home of the Duke of Norfolk. The castle is open Sunday to Friday in summer. The entrance is on Lower Lodge Mill Road, Arundel, just north of the A27 between Worthing and Chichester. Arundel also appears as ‘Windsor Castle’ in The Young Victoria.
The Madness of King George location: The ‘Palace of Westminster’ exterior: School Yard, Eton College, Eton, Berkshire
The ‘Palace of Westminster’, too, has changed beyond recognition. The exterior is the School Yard of Eton College, north of Windsor, Berkshire, a stone’s throw from the royal residence of Windsor Castle. The steps lead up to the north porch of College Chapel. Between the buttresses at the foot of the steps, the game of Eton Fives originated.
The public entrance to the school (it’s generally open from April to mid-October) is on Slough Road (admission charge).
The Madness of King George location: the lobby of the ‘House of Commons’: Divinity School, Bodleian Library, Oxford
The ‘House of Commons’ interior, with author Alan Bennett himself sneaking in a tiny cameo as an MP, used Convocation of Oxford University in Oxford, with the adjoining Divinity School standing in for the lobby. Both are part of the Bodleian Library complex on Catte Street, and are open to the public.
The distinctive architecture of Divinity School might be recognised by Harry Potter fans as ‘Hogwarts School’s Infirmary ’ in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone.
About ten miles east of Oxford is the location used for the palace at ‘Kew Gardens’, where the King is sent to be cured by strict Dr Willis (Ian Holm). It’s Thame Park, Thame Park Road, just southeast of the village of Thame. A private house, it was bought with the intention of conversion into a hotel, but the plans fell through and, once again, it is planned to become a private residence. The grounds of Thame Park were used as the ‘French’ countryside in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan.
The Madness of King George location: Queen Charlotte’s apartments: Broughton Castle, Banbury, Oxfordshire
The royal apartments of Queen Charlotte (Helen Mirren) are Broughton Castle, a moated 14th century Medieval castle which was much enlarged in 1550. The home of Lord and Lady Saye and Sele, it’s two miles southwest of Banbury, Oxfordshire, on the B40355 Shipston-on-Stour road. It’s open to the public on various days during the summer.
The castle was home to Viola (Gwyneth Paltrow) in Shakespeare in Love, featured as ‘Lowood School’ in the 2011 version of Jane Eyre, with Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, and was also seen in Three Men and a Little Lady.
The Madness of King George location: The handbell concert: Painted Hall, Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich, London SE10
The lodgings of the Prince of Wales (Rupert Everett) also used Wilton House, as well as at the Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk, London SE10 (rail: Greenwich). It’s in the lavish Painted Hall of the Old Royal Naval College that the royal family suffers through the handbell concert. In Christopher Wren’s building, until recently used as the dining room of the naval hospital, painter James Thornhill collaborated with architect Nicholas Hawksmoor for nineteen years on this trompe l’oeil extravaganza. It was here that the body of Lord Nelson lay in state.
The Painted Hall, also seen in Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, Quills, The Avengers, Kenneth Branagh’s Cinderella, Michael Winner’s 1983 remake of The Wicked Lady and The Golden Compass, is open to the public.
The Madness of King George location: The Prince of Wales breakfast: Syon House, Isleworth, Greater London
The Long Gallery, in which the King sees Pitt, is at Syon House in Syon Park (rail: Brentford or Syon Lane), on the north bank of the Thames between Brentford and Isleworth. The Prince of Wales’ breakfast room is also Syon House.
The house was previously seen in Joseph Losey’s Harold Pinter-scripted Accident, also in The Avengers, King Ralph, two Henry James adaptations: The Wings of the Dove and Merchant-Ivory’s The Golden Bowl, and Robert Altman’s Gosford Park.
The Madness of King George location: The royal family triumph: St Paul’s Cathedral, London
The triumphant finale is filmed on the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral, previously featured in two David Lean films: Lawrence of Arabia (TE Lawrence's memorial service) and Great Expectations (Pip's arrival in London), as well as in floodlit splendour in the 1950 film noir Night and the City and The Long Good Friday.