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British empire monarch George V and his wife Queen Mary decide to hide their last-born son, Johnnie, from the public, being embarrassingly affected by epilepsy. While his protective elder brother is ruthlessly groomed for court life, Johnnie gets packed off to a country cottage on the royal estate Sandringham. With his full-time governess Lalla, a substitute-mother, he's abandoned to playfulness and virtual social neglect. The Great War and the Russian Revolution change life in Britain, also at court, even at Sandringham, where royal refugees are expected. Written by
When Prince George mentions after the war ends that the exiled Kaiser and Austrian emperor can visit Prince John, two old men who are supposed to be Wilhelm II and Franz Josef are shown in their imagination. Franz Josef had died in 1916 and the exiled Austrian emperor was Charles who would have been aged 30 at the time. See more »
[Speaking about Prince John]
He was the only one of us who was able to be himself.
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This production is outstanding in every way: style, substance and sensitivity. A remarkable glimpse at a remarkable time in Western history told via a very personal and touching biography. Director, Stephen Poliakoff has done what is rare: the combination of otherwise cold dates, places and faces brought to the level of high art. As far as casting is concerned, again quite outstanding. Every role seems as though it were created for the talented actor that inhabited it. Special kudos to Miranda Richardson as Queen Mary, Gina McKee as Prince John's nanny Lala and Bill Nighy as Stamfordham: King George's private secretary. Lastly, congratulations to Adrian Johnston for a lovely and most appropriate musical score.
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