On V.E. Day in 1945, as peace extends across Europe, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed out to join the celebrations. It is a night full of excitement, danger and the first flutters of romance.
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On VE Day in May 1945, as peace is declared across Europe and London is celebrating, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret are allowed to join the celebrations, against the Queen's wishes. The King, impressed by Elizabeth's pleading, asks her to report back on the people's feelings towards him and his midnight speech on the radio. Each girl, incognito, is chaperoned by a Royal Army officer with an itinerary to be back at Buckingham Palace by 1:00 a.m. Soon realizing the Queen's planned itinerary does not fulfill their expectations of fun and meeting the ordinary people, Margaret is the first to slip away from her escort, followed by Elizabeth. Both princesses are separated on two different buses and have their own night-long adventure. Margaret is befriended by a Royal Naval officer seeking to take advantage of what he believes is just an ordinary girl. Elizabeth meets and becomes acquainted with an airman who is AWOL (absent without leave). Margaret is led by her naval officer into a ...Written by
Queen Elizabeth did join the crowds in London to celebrate VE day on May 8, 1945. In her diary she wrote: "Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly, Pall Mall, walked simply miles. Saw parents on balcony at 12.30am - ate, partied, bed 3am!". However, her sister Margaret was only 14 and did not join her. See more »
In 1945 champagne would more likely have been drunk from champagne saucers not flutes. Although we do see Champagne Saucers forming the cascade which Margaret knocks over. See more »
On VE Night 1945, the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose were allowed to leave Buckingham Palace, mingle incognito with the crowd to watch their parents accept acclaim from the balcony, then return to their cloistered world. That's it. Nothing more. But it happened.
Undoubtedly, that sure wouldn't make an interesting film. So A Royal Night Out concocts an entire fiction of the princesses slipping their chaperones from the stuffy ball they had been allowed to attend and escape into the celebrating crowds to find excitement amongst their subjects.
If you can allow yourself to believe that the army officers, charged personally by The King to look after the heir presumptive and her younger sister would abandon their duty to engage in carnal pursuits; if you can believe that the 14 year old Margaret Rose could end up in a knocking shop and lose consciousness after being given a Mickey Finn; if you can believe the coincidences allowing Princess Elizabeth to continually find her airman minder Jack amidst the throbbing thousands; if you can believe that both princesses went back to a working class house in Battersea to clean up and have a cup of tea before returning to the Palace, then you might just get some enjoyment from this lightweight piece of nonsense. If, on the other hand, you find it all too tiring and ridiculous, then it is a film to be given a wide berth.
The film's one redeeming feature was Jack Reynor as the RAF corporal, Jack, who most reluctantly finds himself looking after Princess Elizabeth. He has seen the horrors of the war and having been busted down for seeking compassionate leave after witnessing the slow death of a mate on return from a mission, sees no reason to celebrate; he has no time for the Royal Family and has no idea the young woman who has attached herself limpet-like to him is heir to a dynasty he does not support. Despite the paucity of good material, his screen presence and charisma shine through, and he gives a depth of character performance out of kilter with the rest of the film. He is a young actor to watch.
Oh, and a note to the film-makers. A Pink Gin consists of a slug of gin with just a dash of Angostura bitters giving it the slightest blush of pink. It is not a garishly opaque quarter pint drink looking like Barbara Cartland's face.
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