Film review: A Royal Night Out (6 out of 10)

A Royal Night Out.
A Royal Night Out.

Like most people in the UK, I’ve not met the Queen or any of her family, but like everyone in this country I’m aware of the constant flow of stories about the Royal Family.

Whether you support the Monarchy or not, you cannot escape the news, good and bad, that surrounds them. Based on this, I guess we all build our own perception of what they are like in person.

So watching a film that shows Her Majesty and her sister, Princess Margaret, as young women mixing with with ‘normal’ people and getting involved in some strange situations was a bit disconcerting. A bit like Prince Harry suddenly appearing in a super hero movie.

A Royal Night Out is based on the true events of VE Day when war was officially declared over and the nation partied in style.

The princesses were allowed out incognito to mix with everyone and savour the atmosphere.

Although escorted by two officers, they are soon off on their own and then get separated.

Princess Elizabeth spends most of the night, along with a young airman who doesn’t know who she really is, trying to track down her sister who is determined to have a good time.

This isn’t a documentary so we can be sure that there are plenty of embellishments along the way.

But there’s some nice humourous touches and a brave attempt to show the human side of the Royals.

Canadian Sarah Gadon plays Princess Elizabeth, for whom the VE celebrations were a chance to escape an endless array of official engagements and mix with the ordinary public.

She also enjoys the company of her unofficial guardian Jack (Jack Reynor), an AWOL airman.

Bel Powley plays Princess Margaret and while we know Elizabeth’s sister enjoyed life to the full this representation of her felt a bit of a caricature.

Rupert Everett is particularly good as King George, portraying him as a loving father who struggled with some of the more public aspects of his position.

Emily Watson is also ideal as Queen Elizabeth, acting like any parent and trying to ensure the safety of her daughters on their night out.

While some of the escapades the sisters get into seem highly unlikely the film does quite well at trying to show what it was like on VE Day; the massive relief tinged with sadness for those who lost their lives in the conflict.

Film details: A Royal Night Out (12A) 97mins

Director: Julian Jarrold

Starring: Sarah Gadon, Rupert Everett, Emily Watson

Screening courtesy of Horsham Capitol