Let’s talk about the podcasts you should be listening to, the ones you should know about, and the other ones…
The British royal family is huge commodity in the UK and now, after Meghan’s introduction to the family, in America. There are a ton of royal podcasts vying for your clicks and five star reviews. I have listened to all of these podcasts regularly at one point or another, so I’m gonna give you the 411 on them and whether or not you should listen.
I’m the kind of person who always has a podcast going when driving (which I do a lot of), doing laundry/dishes, or cooking. And I think the need for podcasts goes up around the holidays, hence why I’m putting this out a few days before Christmas. Here are the best and the rest of royal podcasts.
Pod Save the Queen (Daily Mirror)
Pod Save the Queen is the bread and butter of royal family podcasts. It has competent, mostly impartial, friendly hosts; it tells you what has happened in the last week; and it isn’t sycophantic or hateful depending on which royals they’re talking about. It also has a good mix of current content with special episodes, such as interviews with authors of new royal books, or talks on etiquette (it’s from PSTQ’s etiquette episode that I learned you’re not supposed to wear a tiara until you’re married/on your wedding day – justice for single people who want to wear tiaras).
One downside (but this is for most of these podcasts, to be honest): I absolutely loathe when royal journalists/podcasters ascribe adult character and personality traits to royal children. Just let kids be kids. If a cute photo is released, say “wow, what a cute photo,” and move on. Don’t say that Charlotte is fiercely independent because she didn’t hold her parents’ hands at an outing. Yuck. Stop talking about the kids as if you know them. This podcast does that sometimes (though almost every podcast on this list does it), and it drives me up the wall; however, it’s a pretty small complaint in the grand scheme of things.
- Released: weekly on Thursdays
- Hosts: Ann Gripper and Russell Myers
- Should you listen? Absolutely. If you’re only going to subscribe to one podcast on this list, this is the one.
The Royal Rota (ITV)
The Royal Rota is ITV’s royal podcast. You can listen to it in podcast form or watch a Youtube version of it with video of the hosts and visual aides (here). The Royal Rota is extremely similar to Pod Save the Queen in content and format. Here’s why I recommend listening to PSTQ over The Royal Rota: Co-host Chris Ship is unable to keep from talking over or mansplaining to other co-host Lizzie Robinson, and it drives me absolutely insane. It’s so bad that Ship receives notes on it from listeners every week, comments on how he isn’t going to do it this episode, and then immediately talks over her again. Infuriating. And it seems like Ship feels like he’s taken responsibility for it because he outright says that he does it every week – but it just means that he’s hiding in plain sight. He doesn’t modify his behaviour in any way. Every woman has a man like Chris Ship in her office. Fight me.
The beginning of each episode is supposed to be Robinson’s Royal Rundown, in which Lizzie gives a brief recap of all of the week’s royal stories. Then, after the Royal Rundown, Chris and Lizzie are supposed to discuss each story more in-depth. But this is how every episode goes:
I’m going to go there and say that if Chris Ship had a male co-host, he wouldn’t constantly interrupt him. It’s gross and I hate it. Sorry not sorry.
- Released: weekly on Fridays
- Hosts: Lizzie Robinson and Chris Ship
- Should you listen? If you’re already listening to Pod Save the Queen, then no. There’s a lot of duplication between the two podcasts, and I think PSTQ does it better than The Royal Rota. Also, Chris Ship mansplains and talks over Lizzie Robinson. So I’d say you’re okay to skip this one.
Palace Confidential (Daily Mail)
Palace Confidential is the Daily Mail’s weekly royal podcast. It only began this October, so it’s still in its early stages. However, this is the gist: Jo Elvin invites a number (three or four, usually) of people to chit chat about the last week’s royal family news. This is definitely a podcast for the older set. You can tell by listening to it that it’s very small-c conservative and just wants to go back to a time where the royals were mostly seen and not heard, and we didn’t have to talk about “woke” culture. (They use the word “woke” a lot, and always as if a small insect has just crawled into their mouth.) They also do not possess the ability to be impartial about Harry and Meghan. In this podcast’s eyes, Harry and Meghan are worse than Prince Andrew, which is insane and not true in any universe.
This podcast goes after Harry and Meghan in a way makes me, someone who has lots of (I think valid) issues with the Sussexes, do a reenactment of the “Leave Britney alone!!!” fan video (see below).
But, because this podcast has the might and sources of the Daily Mail behind it, there are sometimes scoops or interesting guests, so I will keep listening. However, if you’re a part-time royal follower, you can skip it.
- Released: weekly on Fridays
- Hosts: Jo Elvin
- Should you listen? If you’re 75+ years of age and think that King Charles and Queen Camilla are exactly what the royal family needs to keep the monarchy going (????!!!!), or if you can’t stand Harry and Meghan and want to hear some older, white, British people trash talk them.
The Heir Pod (ABC)
Formerly branded as On Heir, this podcast is an ABC production. It makes total sense that Omid Scobie would host the ABC royals podcast, as he is a royal correspondent to Good Morning America, ABC’s flagship morning news show.
Let’s be super clear and say that The Heir Pod is essentially a propaganda podcast to get nice stories about Meghan and Harry into the spotlight. That sounds harsh, but if you would like to fight me on it, please listen to any five episodes and get back to me.
In the lead-up to the release of Finding Freedom, it became clear that Omid needed to take a bit of the heat off himself/have someone to ask him approved questions about the book, so ABC London correspondent Maggie Rulli was added as a co-host. This is around the time that I had to stop listening. The lack of information about anything that might paint Harry and Meghan in a bad light, combined with Rulli’s excited shrieks about a topic she knows nothing about (the royals) made it virtually unlistenable.
I’m still subscribed to the podcast in my podcast app, though, so I can tell that the pair continue to say nice things about the Sussexes when they can, and nothing at all when they can’t. Example: there has been almost no mention of the UK court case in which Meghan is suing Associated Newspapers over the letter she wrote to her father. Associated Newspapers has won the right to have Omid Scobie’s book Finding Freedom admitted as evidence of Meghan and her camp giving information to him for purposes of him writing a favourable portrayal of her in Finding Freedom. Around the time that this was happening, there was a 15-20 second mention of the court case being delayed and absolutely no mention of Omid having been brought up in the case, not even to say that he couldn’t speak about it. Pretty disingenuous! But don’t worry, y’all, cause Omid and Maggie did go for a spooky haunted Halloween walk in Hampton Court Palace! Who cares about breaking legal news when Omid and Maggie are talking about royal ghost stories?!!!! (The answer is no one.)
- Released: weekly on Fridays
- Hosts: Omid Scobie and Maggie Rulli
- Should you listen? Not unless you’re a diehard member of the #SussexSquad or a masochist. In those cases, listen away.
I’ve just recently found HeirHeads, which is described as “A not-so-serious look at the serious business of royal rumours, gossip and gowns.” Its hosts, Meadhbh and Tom, are friendly and funny and aren’t afraid to throw some shade when necessary. They also give credit where it’s due and tear royals down where it’s due in equal measure, which I am all about/is in short supply in other podcasts. I also love that we get Meadhbh’s views as an Irish person covering the UK royals, as well as Tom’s toff knowledge.
- Released: weekly on Mondays
- Hosts: Meadhbh McGrath and Tom Godfrey
- Should you listen? I have nothing clever to say! Yes, you should!
Royally Obsessed (Gallery Media)
Royally Obsessed is a frothy little concoction that’s designed to go down smooth. Do you want to completely divorce yourself from reality for 45 minutes? Do you want to talk about cute royal photos and how Meghan Markle is such a #girlboss? Well, have I got a podcast for you!
This podcast is less about the reality of the royal family than it is a mood board with pictures of Kate and Meghan’s outfits and inspirational quotes that could sort of apply to any situation. Each episode begins with a “royal cocktail”, aka what the hosts are drinking during the recording of the episode (think drink recipes from The Tig), followed by “this week in royal history” and then a look at some of the week’s royal news.
I’m not trying to be mean when I say that this podcast is not where you should get your news on the royal family. This podcast is trying to capitalize on the newly formed American connection to the BRF and how you can be a little more like Meghan in your day to day life. And there’s nothing wrong with that, if you know that going in. Don’t expect in-depth reporting or impartiality. Do expect fun drink recipes and white, capitalist feminism. Let’s start an Etsy store!!!!!!
- Released: weekly on Thursdays
- Hosts: Formerly Lisa Ryan and Kaitlin Menza; currently Roberta Fiorito and Rachel Bowie
- Should you listen? If you’re an American sorority sister, a member of the #SussexSquad, or someone who has said “Slay, queen!” unironically, yes.
In the Limelight (Vanity Fair, discontinued)
This podcast’s last episode was put out almost 18 months ago, so it’s kind of like a history book. The podcast is essentially all about Meghan Markle and her impact on the royal family once she started dating Prince Harry in 2016. Meghan’s entree into the BRF was the jumping-off point and raison d’etre for the podcast, and it was hosted by two of the youngest writers at Vanity Fair who were immersed in Hollywood and could provide American context for Meghan obsessives on both sides of the pond. However, when Josh Duboff left Vanity Fair in the summer of 2019, the podcast was shuttered. What I like about this podcast is that what Josh and Julie lack in BRF knowledge, they make up for in American straightforwardness and dry, biting humour. Example: the hosts sign off each episode with a tongue-in-cheek recitation of one of Meghan’s pre-royal mantras, “No bad energy.” RIP In the Limelight.
- Released: Discontinued – no new episodes
- Hosts: Josh Duboff and Julie Miller
- Should you listen? There are some really interesting episodes that give a Hollywood spin on Harry and Meghan’s life in the royal family. Just for anthropological reasons you should listen to “The Moment We’ve Been Waiting For”, “Meghan Mania”, “A Palace Feud?”, “What Meghan Wants…”, and “A Very Markle Christmas”.
Thank you for reading!
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