Find our streaming recommendations for the previous month here.
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Each month we’ll bring you a few Passport picks.
This May, there’s a lot to celebrate: mothers, the royal wedding, the arrival of spring. Watch two American classics, one novel and one musical, dramatizing mother-daughter relationships; explore the fashion, feuds, and foliage of the royal family, and get recipes for some spring-themed dishes from a cooking show.
It’s the classic American coming-of-age story, and its story of the four March sisters would not be complete without their mother, Marmee. With their father serving as a chaplain during the Civil War, the daughters gravitate to Marmee and grow up around her, learning her values and lessons. If you missed the broadcast of the first part this Sunday, you can stream it, as well as the second part after this weekend. Watch it with your mom!
The relationship between Rose and her daughters is less healthy than that between Marmee and the March sisters. But Jule Styne’s classic musical about show business and its difficulties is striking for its complex portrayal of a mother. Watch the sellout production by Jonathan Kent, starring Imelda Staunton as Rose, Lara Pulver as Louise, and Peter Davison as Herbie.
One of the most exciting parts of the royal wedding this Saturday (which you can watch on WTTW through live BBC coverage beginning at 3:00 am) will be the clothes, especially the wedding dress. In this special, historian Lucy Worsley examines royal fashion over the centuries, from Elizabeth I’s eye-and-ear-embroidered dress signaling her surveillance to the Stuart kings’ discarding of doublets for two-piece suits to Victoria’s popularizing of the white wedding dress. You can also watch Worlsey discuss royal wedding dresses as part of our Royal Wedding Watch.
While the royal family is notoriously hidebound and conservative, they have slowly changed over the decades. As recent as twenty years ago, Meghan Markle’s divorced status would have been taboo – the first divorced person allowed to marry into the family was Camilla Parker Bowles, in 2005. Some 80 years ago, Edward VIII’s love affair with the twice-divorced American socialite Wallis Simpson led to a huge scandal and Edward’s sudden abdication of the throne. Royal Wives at War explores that crisis through the eyes of Simpson and the Queen Mother.
The Buckingham Palace Gardens is a 39-acre oasis of wildlife amidst the bustle of the heart of London. Now that spring is here, explore the Queen’s specially bred rare flowers, the royal bees, the plants used in the Palace for both cooking and decoration. Such monarchical grandeur will also help get you in the mood for the upcoming wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.
After a lot of back-and-forth, spring has finally arrived – which means ramps, the garlicky, leeky wild onion that food people go wild for, are in season. But only for a short time! Watch chef Vivian Howard hunt for these elusive treats and cook them up in some delicious recipes. And if you want more foodie delight, you can stream all five seasons of A Chef’s Life.