A Royal Night Out is a film about one perfect, glorious evening in the lives of two real-life princesses. They are Elizabeth (Sarah Gadon, Belle, A Dangerous Method) and Margaret Windsor (Bel Powley) and the night is 8 May 1945, V-E Night. The whole of London is on the streets to celebrate the official end of World War II 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 acclaimed UK director Julian Jarrold (Becoming Jane, Brideshead Revisited), A Royal Night Out 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.
“The idea of the two princesses, out on the town, incognito, is very exciting,” says Jarrold. “It’s a true story by which everybody is intrigued. But we don’t know exactly what happened. It’s a little fantasy inspired by that true story. It’s also a romantic comedy adventure about an odd couple, Jack is a working-class guy and Elizabeth is a princess. They are thrown together by chance and have to make their way through London on this crazy, unbelievable night. And they’ve both got secrets. The princess has her secret identity and Jack has a secret she doesn’t know about.”
The original script was written by newcomer Trevor de Silva and then Kevin Hood, with whom Jarrold had worked closely on Becoming Jane. A Royal Night Out was produced by Robert Bernstein and Douglas Rae of Ecosse Films, the UK production company that has made its name for skilfully blending historical figures and events with fictional elements in films such as Mrs Brown, Nowhere Boy and Becoming Jane.
“Though there are no blazing historical insights here, the film is filled with moments of ribald humor and tender poignancy that offer glimpses into a society divided by class but united, mostly, in an outpouring of sheer, overwhelming relief.” (Kerry Lengel, Arizona Republic)
“Julian Jarrold’s brightly performed exercise in speculative history scores as a frothier, more feminine bookend to The King’s Speech—though it’s no less engaging or accomplished.” (Guy Lodge, Variety)