Sunday, 16 December 2018

Princesses enjoying themselves royally

THE private lives of the royal family have long seemed fascinating to us commoners.

THE private lives of the royal family have long seemed fascinating to us commoners.

A Royal Night Out would therefore seem to be perfect cinematic fare for royalists all over the country.

The film centres on one glorious evening in the lives of two real-life princesses - Elizabeth and Margaret Windsor - on VE night, May 8, 1945.

The whole of London is on the streets to celebrate the official end of the Second World War in Europe.

It is known the young princesses - aged 19 and 14 - slipped out of the palace to join the communal euphoria and went dancing at the Ritz. They apparently returned to Buckingham Palace just after midnight.

Directed by Julian Jarrold, who took the helm of other lavish period pieces Becoming Jane and Brideshead Revisited, the film is an affectionate “what-if” story about the adventures Elizabeth and Margaret might have had on the joyous night that brought the whole of London together.

It’s topical too, being released on the 70th anniversary of the Allied victory in Europe.

However, what may prove most appealing about the film is it’s a window on a social circle so rarely witnessed by the public. Here comes the mix of fantasy with reality, skilfully blending historical figures and events with fictional elements.

Rather than recounting the story of the triumph overseas, it paints a picture of how a few, very privileged individuals, chose to celebrate.

After years of uncertainty, suddenly there was an explosion of colour and light.

In many ways this is a coming-of-age story - full of excitement, danger and the first flutters of romance - set against the background of events that would change the future of the country, and indeed history, forever.

The original script was written by newcomer Trevor de Silva and then Kevin Hood, with whom Jarrold worked closely on Becoming Jane.

A Royal Night Out will be showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse from today (Friday).

• Dukhtar, the drama/thriller set in Pakistan and directed by former Henley resident Cordelia Stephens, will be at the Regal Picturehouse at 6pm on Sunday. See or for more information.

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