Margaret and Peter watch footage of Elizabeth on television while away on “official business.” Margaret declares herself the luckiest woman in the world.
A reporter named Bill Mattheson (Paul Thornley) approaches his editor with a story. It seems that on the day of the coronation the Princess Margaret was seen picking a bit of fluff off a military man’s uniform and not just any man but a divorced commoner.When the royals and divorce are involved, there is usually more to the story so he gets permission to write it up.
Margaret calls Elizabeth to arrange for a dinner for “them all.” Philip and Elizabeth and Margaret and… Peter. Elizabeth seems a bit suspicious as to his inclusion but agrees nonetheless.
Philip is out at his lunch club where the newly returned photojournalist Tony Longdon (Ed Stoppard) presents about the state of things in the Middle East. They are antimonarchial and wish “death to imperialists.”
Elizabeth and Philip are getting ready to go to dinner and they talk about what he did all day. On the way out he asks who they are eating with and she tells him Margaret and Peter and that that’s all she knows.
At the dinner Margaret is nervous and finally just asks for permission to marry Peter. Elizabeth agrees to allow it.
Philip seems to take offense to the difficult position this puts Elizabeth in more than she does. He brings up her uncle but she points out that 17 years have passed. Times have changed. He points out that for the royals it does not.
The reporter finishes his story and brings it to his editor. He wants to run it so he has to clear it with upstairs. They are going ahead with it so the publisher alerts Tommy so that the queen has a heads up. He tells the queen mother.
The next morning Elizabeth calls Margaret. She’s been brainstorming and thinks that it could work if they married in Scotland. They are both happy with their plan but Margaret warns her sister that a visit from their mother is likely.
Elizabeth waits and sure enough her mother turns up. Her priority is protecting the monarchy so when Elizabeth explains the Scotland plan she tells her not to be foolish. Margaret won’t need permission after she turns 25 so if she waits just two years it solves everything.
She breaks the news to her sister, who is upset naturally. She explains the reasoning and tells her about the appointment that Peter will receive in the interim. Margaret really doesn’t have a choice. She and Peter discuss it know that they don’t have any other options.
Peter is chosen to accompany Elizabeth on a trip to Northern Ireland. Tommy is less than pleased with him. He does fine work when he actually does his job but has no place fraternizing with Margaret. Elizabeth does take a moment to talk to Peter as well but remains diplomatic.
His departure to Brussels for his new post has been moved up and he won’t have a chance to see Margaret before he leaves. He breaks protocol and calls her by name when pleading his case before Tommy reprimands him and tells him he has no choice. Peter argues that the public is on their side so he and Margaret should get to see each other but Tommy is dismissive.
Margaret finds out what has happened and calls Elizabeth at once. She takes some effort to track down but is eventually found at the stables. Margaret calls her jealous and says that she was opposed to the relationship from the beginning. She basically says watch her back.
The papers the next day take Margaret’s side and say that this will threaten the monarchy. It is cruel and shows how superfluous the royal family truly is, according to the article. Philip tells Elizabeth not to worry. He asserts that it will all be forgiven in 48 hours and she says that she doesn’t think Margaret will forgive her that quickly to which he replies “she’ll learn she has to. We all have to.” He then leaves for a weekend away with the boys from his lunch club. Elizabeth is upset, and alone.
I kind of loved the way they showed how elaborate a process it is for Margaret to call Elizabeth. The family just seems sort of out of touch. Elizabeth and Philip seem to understand a bit better but she is so easily swayed by the customs of the older generation that it doesn’t matter. I felt bad for Margaret but her accusations seemed kind of unfounded.