Tuesday, 2 June 2015

A Royal Night Out (4 Stars)


This is a delightful little comedy inspired by true events. The story is highly speculative, bearing little resemblance to the official records of this event, but it plants a seed of doubt in our mind at the end, when Elisabeth says, "Don't let the truth come out. If anyone asks we were at the Ritz".

The story is about the two English princesses, Elisabeth, 19, who has since become Queen Elisabeth, and her 14-year-old sister Margaret. The Second World War is over, in Europe at least, and they want to go out and celebrate with the people of London on VE Day, May 8th, 1945. After pleading with their parents they are allowed to go out with two army officers as chaperones, but there are strict instructions that they should return by 1 am.

Of course, girls will be girls, and the two princesses soon escape from their boring chaperones. The two girls are separated. Elisabeth finds company with Jack, an airman who is a perfect gentleman and protects her wherever they go, even though he doesn't recognise who she is. Margaret is less lucky and gets together with a rather creepy naval officer who obviously has sexual intentions with her, despite her young age. He gets her drunk and takes her to a brothel, but she runs away from him and finds protection from the brothel's owner when she reveals her identity.

The forbidden romance between Elisabeth and Jack is both touching and amusing. They both know it can never come to anything, so the most they share is a single kiss, which is discreetly off camera. I wonder. If the story really were true, would Elisabeth regret giving Jack up for Philip of Greece?

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